For many of us the time in clock system is an integral part of our working week. Clocking in and out after a long shift provides your employer with the information needed to gage employee productivity. The clocking in and out system is something that we rarely think about. However, did you know the history of the clocking in and out system, and how it has played a large part in the working life of people the world over for over a century?
Invented by Willard Bundy, a jeweller based in Auburn, New York, with an innovative mind that was responsible for a number of patents, the time in clock system has evolved exponentially over the last century. A year after the time in clock device was first patented in 1889 Willard Bundy’s brother, Harlow, founded the Bundy Manufacturing Company and began mass producing time clocks.
By 1900 the brothers consolidated their business with two others to form the definitive time equipment recording business, International Time Recording Company (ITR.) As the success of the product became widespread the business grew, and in 1911 Bundy Mfg and another two businesses merged once more to become known as Computing Tabulating Recording Company (CTR) which would later change its name it IBM.
As the twentieth century rolled on, so too did the innovation of the time in clock in system, this enhanced technological advancement fuelled an increased demand for the product, and the ingenuity of these systems were exemplified by a number of corporations across the world, and as such the changes in the industry. In 1958, IBM’s Time Equipment Division was sold to Simplex Time Recorder Company. In the UK ITR was bought-out in 1963 and reverted to International Time Recorders, and by 1982 ITR was acquired by Blick Industries of Swindon who, themselves, were later absorbed by Stanley Security Systems.
In the latter part of the twentieth century with the introduction of computing systems time clocks moved away from standard mechanics to electronic time and attendance systems. These time and attendance systems were a revolution, and a substantial leap in terms of our technological progress. The employees were issued with magnetic strip card, complete with a barcode on the back. Once the RFID (radio frequency identification) tag comes into close proximity with the reader, the employee’s details are scanned and logged. The flexibility of these cards, combined with the user interface also allowed for holiday requests, absenteeism and hours worked to be easily recorded.
More recently we’ve seen time clock in systems adopting the technology more commonly seen in smart phones and tablets. With multi-touch screens, full colour displays, real time monitoring, and wireless networking, the sophistication of the technology is apparent. Indeed, the growing popularity of cloud software has lead to time in clock systems being manufactured to interface seamlessly with the cloud.
As you can plainly see, traditional clock in systems have come a long way from basic mechanical systems. Today we’re treated to some of the most technological innovative systems, and surely far exceeded the wildest dreams of Willard Bundy over a century ago.