Origins of Bull.
From Norway to
Fredrik Bull was an employee of Storebrand, a
Norwegian insurance company, and had ideas to use card punch equipment to solve its
company's problems. He designed equipments more integrated that those offered by Hollerith
(later IBM) and took patents that were acquired by the Belgian entrepreneur Emile
Genon and the Swiss company HW Egli. After his death, his succession was handled by
Knut-Andreas Knutsen who had been a key person in the creation of Machines Bull.
|23 Jun 1919
Bull (born in 1882)
proposes to Storebrand, an accident insurance company from Oslo, then
Christiana, Norway, to build a punched card machine. at the cost of 20,000 NKr
|31 Jul 1919
||First Norwegian patent filed by Fr.R.Bull
for a punched card combined machine able to record, add and sort data.
|25 Jan 1921
||The first machine is subcontracted to
Ormestad, a Norwegian precision machinery company that delivers it in Aug 1921
||Fr.R.Bull signs a contract with Reidar
Knutsen (and the company OKA) for manufacturing and marketing the punched card machine.
||The Danish insurance company Hafnia
orders one combined machine, but would prefer separate sorters and adders
||The first machine is operational at
Storebrand (until 1926)
||Fr R Bull leaves Storebrand to head the
engineering at OKA
||Delivery to Hafnia, followed in March and
July 1923 by the separate adder and sorter and the replacement of Hollerith machines.
|1 Oct 1923
||Patent n°101723 filed in Switzerland for
|7 Jan 1924
||Patent n°26588 filed in Switzerland for
|1 Jan 1925
||Knut-Andreas Knutsen replaces Fr R Bull,
dying from cancer (death on 7 Jun 1925 at 43). The patents of Fr R Bull become property of
a Consortium headed by Reinar Knutsen
||Unfruitful negotiation with Powers,
the second world manufacturer of punched card equipments
||Emile Genon, a Belgian reseller of
Elliott-Fisher and Underwood calculators, buys the manufacturing and sales rights of
Bull's consortium (except for Scandinavia)
||Emile Genon resells the manufacturing
rights to the Swiss company H.W. Egli
||Design of an horizontal sorter by
K.A.Knutsen (manufactured by Ormestad for Hafnia)
||The first Swiss manufactured machine is
shipped to Sandoz Laboratories
|4 Jun 1930
||patent filed by KA Knutsen for a printing
feature on the tabulator
||Bull AG, a Zürich based company, is
established by Emile Genon for international sales . Distributors are established in
France (ATEIC) and Belgium.(SOMECA)
||KA Knutsen is offered the charge of head
of engineering at Egli, but he preferred to settle in France. France offers a larger
market and enjoys lower costs than Switzerland.
Settlement in France.
|9 Mar 1931
||Establishment in Paris 92bis avenue
Gambetta of the H.W.Egli Bull company co-founded by H.W Egli, Henri Vindevoghel (bringing
the avenue Gambetta workshop of ATEMETA) and Bull AG. The manufacturing is split between
Oslo, Paris and Zürich. International marketing is still Bull AG. The customers base
includes 6 from Norway, 3 from Denmark, 2 from Finland and 2 from Switzerland.
The president of H.W.Egli Bull is Albert Auguste Huguenin.
||Introduction of the first rotating
numeric printer (120lpm) from the patents of KA Knutsen
||Proposal by Georges Vieillard and Elie
Doury to HW Egli to buy some of their stock of HW Egli Bull in the name of a syndicate of
French users. This offer is opposed to a take-over proposal by Remington Rand. Georges
Vieillard obtains finally on 20 Dec 1931 the support of HW Egli's board.
The fact that a secret cross-license agreement existing since 1927 between Remington
Rand and IBM infuriated Georges Vieillard and some members of the Board.
||First shipment to a French customer, the
Social Security bureau of Ministère du Travail.
|16 Apr 1932
||Lt-Cel Rimailho becomes president of HW Egli-Bull
Emile Genon becomes vice-president and Georges Vieillard CFO. KA Knutsen remains in charge
||New shares emission for HW Egli. Jacques
Callies (Papeteries Aussedat) named director in the Board (he will became responsible soon
for papers and cards)
T30 tabulator with
alphanumeric printing (separate alpha and numeric wheels)
|24 Jan 1933
||Georges Vieillard is named administrateur-délégué
and chairman of the executive Board that includes Emile Genon, Jacques Callies and Mr.
The board takes cost-cutting decisions (reduction of margins to distributors, cutting
engineering expenses and reducing engineering improvements)