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Welcoming the Future with UNIVAC

 



  • In 1956, Pacific Mutual was the first private business West of the Mississippi to use the UNIVAC computer system

Each reel of tape in the UNIVAC system was 1,500 feet long and contained the same information as 18,000 punched cards used in Pacific Mutual's old data filing system. Pacific Life Archives
Each reel of tape in the UNIVAC system was 1,500 feet long and contained the same information as 18,000 punched cards used in Pacific Mutual's old data filing system.
Pacific Life Archives


In 1873, Pacific Mutual was the first company West of the Mississippi to use an arithmometer, what was then a sophisticated calculating machine. In the 20th century, the company had another first: In late 1956, the engineers at Pacific Mutual fired up their brand-new UNIVAC computer system. The company was again the first private business west of the Mississippi to utilize the new technology.

The new system cost $2 million, weighed 20 tons, contained over 200 miles of wiring, and was capable of processing and updating over 300,000 policies every day. It gave off enough heat to warm eight three-bedroom houses, so Pacific Mutual installed two 5,200-pound air conditioners to keep it cool.

More than 500 people visited the home office to observe the installation process in 1955 and 1956. The components were hoisted up to the fourth floor of the home office through a 70-foot-square hole in the exterior wall.

The UNIVAC system helped to cement Pacific Mutual as a leader in computing innovation.