Lexikon's History of Computing

Honeywell-Bull - Brief Chronology

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Honeywell's origins date back to 1885. On April 23, 1886, an inventor named Albert Butz patented the furnace regulator and alarm. He formed the Butz Thermo-Electric Regulator Co., Minneapolis,.and a few weeks later invented a simple, yet ingenious device that he called the "damper flapper."

Mark Honeywell manufactured water heaters in Wabash, Indiana in 1906. In 1927, Mark Honeywell merged his business with that of Alfred Butz to form the "Minneapolis Honeywell Regulator Company." From these modest beginnings the company grew to become a major corporation.

Honeywell's Electronic Data Processing Division (EDP) was started in 1955 as a joint venture with Raytheon. Honeywell bought out Raytheon's Share in 1955. In 1957, Honeywell introduced its first computer, the Datamatic 1000, based on vacuum tubes.

In 1959, Honeywell produced its first solid state computer, the Datamatic 800, followed by the series 400, series 300 and the large-scale 1800 series. (See also "Datamatic").

In 1970, Honeywell merged its computer business with General Electric's to form Honeywell Information Systems, which performed well in mainframe markets. In 1986, the personal computer emerged and the company formed Honeywell Bull, a global joint venture with Compagnie des Machines Bull of France and NEC Corporation of Japan. Its ownership level was gradually decreased until, in 1991, Honeywell was no longer in the computer business. The digital computer knowledge was then applied to its traditional field of automation control, integrating sensors and activators.

The following is a very brief timeline of Honeywell.



Minneapolis Honeywell Regulator Company founded.


The Honeywell Company became one of the first computer manufacturers in the United States when it introduced the Datamatic 1000.


Honeywell acquired Computer Control Company (3C), a manufacturer of minicomputers. 3C was founded in 1953 and employed about 1,300 people at its plants in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Los Angeles.

This acquisition created the Computer Group, composed of the Electronic Data Processing Division (EDP) and the Computer Control Division (CCD). This same year, the CCD announced the small scale DDP-516 and DDP-416 computers.


Honeywell Bull merges with CII.


Honeywell and NEC form a joint venture called Honeywell-NEC supercomputers to market computers in the U.S. and Canada.


(December) Honeywell Bull (a privately held company owned by Honeywell, Bull and NEC) announces the PC AP-X and PC SP personal computers, based on the 80286 and 80386 microprocessors. Bull increased its ownership and control in Honeywell Bull and renamed it "Bull HN Information Systems."


Bull acquired the Zenith Data Systems subsidiary of Zenith Corporation, makers of personal computers.


Bull purchased the remaining interest in Bull HN Information systems by buying out Honeywell and NEC.


(LOWELL, Mass) On February 1, 1995, Groupe Bull ("Bull") and Wang (NASDAQ:WANG) agreed to and completed the acquisition by Wang of Bull’s worldwide workflow and imaging business, its U.S. government systems integration business, its U.S. customer service business, and its sales and service subsidiaries in Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. The transaction, which was announced on September 20, 1994, also includes several reciprocal, worldwide distribution and licensing agreements. Under the agreement, Wang paid to Bull $110 million in cash, a $27.2 million subordinated note, and 1,650,000 shares of Wang stock, representing approximately 4.9 percent of Wang’s shares. In addition, Mr. Axel Leblois, president and chief executive officer of Bull HN Information Systems Inc., joined the Wang board of directors.

(See also Wang/Getronics History)



Honeywell Inc. merges with Allied Signal


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