A History of Time Keeping Part II – Tracking the Minutes

A pendulum clock with punch cards

These days most businesses use an online time tracking software which stores and records the click of a button at a specific time.

In recent years, a time clock would have been an automated system using swipe cards, badges, or biometric data like fingerprints to record time in and out from work.

Long ago – and some of us even remember the days – a time clock was a large machine that stamped the time in and the time out on thick paper cards.

IBM started with the Time clock

The first time clock, intended for employees to punch in and out from work, was invented by a jeweler named Willard Bundy in 1888. Bundy Manufacturing Company led the commercial sales of mechanical timeclocks along with a couple of other time equipment companies. These companies finally merged in 1911 forming the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation.  This company later change its name to IBM.

Calculating all of those time-stamps was a big job

Time clocks have come a long way in the last 120 years
Time clocks of yore required full-time specialists to calculate the hours and minutes between each in and out stamp of every single employee, every single day. In a regular two week pay period one employee might have 40 time stamps! There is a whole lot of room for error in so much meticulous calculation. Companies would be routinely in danger of over paying or under paying their employees.

Today time clocks are easier to use than ever. No calculations are necessary since the software does all the work; there are no punch cards that can get lost or fraudulently used; and there is no clunky machine to mount on the wall.

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