The Original History of Punch Clocks

The history of the time recorder and employee attendance systems

The very first employee time recorder was designed and manufactured in 1888 in New York by William Bundy who was a jeweler by trade. As his employee time clock became more popular he set up the Bundy Manufacturing Company with his brother Harlow to make time clocks on a larger scale.

A short while later the Bundy Manufacturing Company teamed up with two other time equipment companies to form International Time Recorders (ITR) who became the selling agent for Bundy Manufacturing. Another major time clock manufacturer at the time was the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation which later became IBM.

The time cards had a time in and time out box printed onto them, the employee was required to line up the markings on the card insert mechanism (card throat), insert the time card, and then press down on a lever that activated a hammer mechanism which enabled the date and time to be imprinted onto the clock card through an inked ribbon.

A problem with this system meant that overstamping was a possibility and was commonly used by employees to their advantage.