Herman Hollerith might be considered one of the fathers of statistical analysis as well as one of the founders of the computer age. The company(s) that he formed eventually became known as IBM.

So how did he do it?

Well, he was a mathematician who used the technology of punch cards to invent the first punch card sorting and tabulating machines. His work was preceded by Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace and George Boole, each of whom contribute in some way or another to the dynamics of the tabulating machine.

Hollerith's expanded on the principle of the Jacquard loom by adding electricity. The system he invented used holes in punched cards to indicate any desired grouping of facts. The cards passed under contact brushes which completed an electrical circuit when a hole was present. His system also included a card punching machine and a sorter which dropped the cards into bins according to the holes sensed by the electrical current.

Hollerith's machines were instrumental in the construction of the 1880 Census Bureau. It's estimated that his machines worked over a million times faster than what had been previously used. By use of his machines, the census was completed in about six weeks. He also supplied the equipment for the 1890 census. By 1900, the Census Bureau developed their own machines rather than pay Hollerith.

In 1896 Hollerith formed the Tabulating Machine Company. The machines that were produced were used to store time records, inventory and accounting data. After mergers with two other companies, it formed the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company under the leadership of Thomas J. Watson. In 1924, they changed their name to the giant of today International Business Machines Corporation, better known to you and I as IBM.