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The Fascinating History Behind Binghamton’s Bundy Museum

Traci Taylor
Traci Taylor

I bet you’ve driven by the Bundy Mansion and Museum on Main Street in Binghamton and you probably haven’t really given it a second glance, but this home holds a ton of interesting history — history that’s impacted not just Binghamton, but the entire world.

Brothers Willard and Harlow Bundy formed a company in Binghamton in 1889 called the “Bundy Manufacturing Company” to produce time clocks. The purpose of the clocks was to eliminate the need for timekeeping and watchmen.

Traci Taylor
Traci Taylor

In 1906, the Bundy Manufacturing Company moved to Endicott and merged with Frick Manufacturing Company and Standard Time Stamp Company, eventually also acquiring the Chicago Time Registry Company. After all of the little companies were scooped up, Bundy Manufacturing Company became known as the “International Time Recording Company” (ITR).  As the International Time Recording Company, they then acquired the Del Ray Register Company and the Syracuse Time Recording Company and those companies merged to form the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (aka CTR).

Here’s where things get really interesting. In 1924, CTR was renamed International Business Machines. That’s right! The little Bundy Manufacturing Company, which started on Main Street in Binghamton, eventually morphed into the company we know today as IBM.

Traci Taylor
Traci Taylor

The Binghamton factories are long gone, but Harlow Bundy’s home still stands at 129 Main Street and it’s open for you to explore.

When you step through the doors, you’re transported back into a different time. The home is set up to show you what it would have looked like when Harlow and his family lived there complete with a dumbwaiter, a butler phone, a ballroom, and plus some other really cool things that I’ll leave quiet for you to discover when you visit.

Traci Taylor
Traci Taylor

It’s interesting to me that not much credit is given to the Bundy boys. My tour guide told me that when IBM celebrated their 100th birthday, there was only about 20 seconds of mention given to the two men who made IBM possible by creating their small time clock company back in 1889.

If you’re looking to brush up on Binghamton (and world) history, I highly recommend checking out the Bundy Museum. It’s really quite fascinating once you take into consideration what two guys who lived in Binghamton did for the world.

[via Bundy Museum/IBM/The Atlantic]

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