Born in 1850, Flint entered the world of shipping when he turned 18, and a few decades later had moved up the ranks, facilitating the consolidations of multiple businesses and eventually forming companies like U.S. Rubber, Adams Chewing Gum and Dentyne.
However, it wasn’t until 1911, at the age of 61 that Flint came up with his best business idea yet. Via a stock acquisition of four separate companies, he formed the Computer-Tabulating-Recording Company, which would later go on to be dubbed International Business Machines or IBM.
Today, IBM is known for manufacturing and selling a wide array of computer-related products including software, hardware and middleware. The company also has built world-record breaking, Jeopardy playing computers and continues to make strides in research regarding the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.
That’s a far cry from when the company was merely offering to assist the U.S. census bureau in its population-monitoring efforts. It’s also a testament to Charles Ranlett Flint’s go-get-em attitude and willingness to continue pursuing his passions long after middle age.