Thank goodness he’s drawn attention away from my shirt! — Martin Prince, “Treehouse of Horror IV”
The story of how a Chinese immigrant…and another Chinese guy…parlayed a small business loan into a thriving computer company is a long and interesting one. And here it is:
Founded in 1951, Wang Laboratories set to work making giant calculators, mainframes and a word processing-only computer that used cassette tapes to store up to twenty pages of text. Also, their logo may have inspired Van Halen’s.
As you’re probably not viewing this webpage on a Wang laptop right now, it should be clear that the company faced some heady competition from Apple and IBM, especially when personal computers started to pick up steam.
According to Wikipedia, Wang challenged IBM specifically, running televised ads that depicted the larger company as some type of ogre. Unfortunately, I couldn’t scare up any of these purportedly awesome commercials…turn on the lasers:
My vision! Due to a failure to capitalize on both the PC and mainframe computer markets, and no thanks to the ill-considered decision by the company’s founder to promote his son to the top seat, Wang entered bankruptcy in the 90s, emerging as a “network services” company and subsequently being sold off.
For more information about the company’s products and history, please consult the Small WANG museum. And stay safe out there.