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What Innovation Sold for $1.1B - Wang's Biggest Patent?

Discover the breakthrough innovation that made Wang's biggest patent sell for $1.1B

What Innovation Sold for $1.1B - Wang's Biggest Patent?

What Was Invented and Patented by Wang Laboratories

Introduction to Wang Laboratories

Wang Laboratories was founded in 1951 by An Wang, a Chinese-American computer engineer who built his first computer in the basement of his apartment in Boston. Wang Laboratories eventually became one of the largest computer companies in the world, known for its innovative products and patents.One of the reasons for Wang Laboratories' success was An Wang's philosophy that technology should be developed to serve people, rather than the other way around. This approach led to many groundbreaking inventions and patents, including the Wang 700 and the Wang VS System.

The Wang 700

In 1976, Wang Laboratories introduced the Wang 700, which was the first programmable word processor. It combined a keyboard, processor, and display in a single device, making it a revolutionary invention that changed the way office work was done. The Wang 700 was designed to be easy to use and flexible, with a large screen and a built-in printer.The Wang 700 was an instant success, with thousands of units sold in its first year of production. It was used by businesses, government agencies, and individuals all over the world. The Wang 700's success led to the development of many other word processors, which helped to propel the personal computer revolution of the 1980s.

The Wang VS System

In 1977, Wang Laboratories introduced the Wang VS System, which became one of the company's most successful products. The VS System was a mainframe computer that could handle multiple users and applications simultaneously, making it ideal for large corporations and government agencies with extensive computing needs.The Wang VS System was known for its reliability and performance, and it was widely used in the financial industry. It was designed to be scalable, so it could be customized to meet the needs of each individual customer. The VS System was one of the first computers to use a virtual memory system, which allowed it to emulate larger computer systems.Wang Laboratories held many patents related to the Wang VS System, including patents for its virtual memory system and its disk drive technology. These patents helped to secure the company's place as a leader in the computer industry.


Wang Laboratories was a pioneer in the computer industry, responsible for many groundbreaking inventions and patents. The Wang 700 and the Wang VS System were two of the company's most significant contributions, revolutionizing office work and large-scale computing, respectively. While Wang Laboratories eventually fell behind other companies in the 1990s, its legacy lives on through its many innovations and patents.

What Was Invented and Patented by Wang Laboratories?

Wang Laboratories was a computer company founded by An Wang in 1951. Over the years, the company became known for its innovative technologies and numerous patents. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the most notable inventions and patents that were developed by Wang Laboratories.

Wang Laboratories' Patents

Wang Laboratories was awarded numerous patents for various inventions, which helped it establish a strong reputation as a major player in the computer industry. Some of the most important patents that Wang Laboratories received are discussed below:

Patent on Magnetic Core Memory

In 1951, An Wang was awarded a patent for his invention of magnetic core memory. This type of memory became the most common form of computer memory until the 1970s, and Wang Laboratories played a significant role in its development. Magnetic core memory used tiny rings of magnetized ferrite material to store digital data. The technology was groundbreaking at the time and provided a way to store large amounts of data in a small space. This patent was a key milestone in the history of Wang Laboratories and helped to establish the company as a leading innovator in the computer industry.

Patent on the Wang 700

The Wang 700 was a computer system that was first released in 1976. It was one of the first mini-computers to use integrated circuits, which made it more powerful and reliable than earlier models. The Wang 700 also featured a unique operating system that allowed multiple users to access the system simultaneously, making it an ideal choice for businesses and other organizations. In 1978, Wang Laboratories was awarded a patent for the Wang 700, which recognized its innovative design and the impact it had on the industry. This patent was one of many that Wang Laboratories would receive over the years, solidifying its place as a major player in the computer industry.

Other Notable Patents

In addition to the patents on magnetic core memory and the Wang 700, Wang Laboratories received numerous other patents for a range of inventions and technologies. Other notable patents include those related to:- Digital signal processing: Wang Laboratories developed a system for processing digital signals that allowed for more accurate and efficient data processing.- Multiple user access to computer systems: The Wang 700 was not the only system that allowed multiple users to access a computer simultaneously. Wang Laboratories developed other systems that had similar capabilities, which were protected by patented technology.- A system for analyzing financial data: Wang Laboratories developed a system for analyzing financial data that allowed for more accurate predictions of future financial trends.Overall, Wang Laboratories' patents played an important role in the development of the computer industry. The company's innovative technologies paved the way for many of the advancements that we take for granted today. While Wang Laboratories is no longer in business, its legacy lives on through its many patents and contributions to the computer industry.

Legacy of Wang Laboratories

Impact on the Computing Industry

Wang Laboratories, founded in 1951 by An Wang, was a significant contributor in advancing the computing industry. The company's inventions and patents helped pave the way for future innovations in technology. One of the key areas where Wang Laboratories played a crucial role was in the development of word processing.

The Wang 700, released in 1976, was a word processor that helped revolutionize the office environment. It allowed users to generate, edit, print and store documents and was considered to be a milestone in the evolution of word processing technology. The Wang 700 was widely used in offices, banks, law firms, and government institutions, and became a crucial tool in the business world.

Wang Laboratories was also known for its mainframe computing technology, which was developed to manage large databases and process complex data. The company's innovative approach in mainframe computing led to several patents, including magnetic core memory, which helped accelerate data processing speed and memory capabilities.

Wang Laboratories' inventions and patents have contributed greatly to the development of the computing industry, with its word processing invention being a precursor to modern word processors like those used today.

Decline and Bankruptcy

While Wang Laboratories played a crucial role in the computing industry, the company faced challenges in the 1990s as personal computers became more popular. Mainframe computing also began to fall out of favor with the emergence of cloud computing. These changes affected the company's sales and growth, leading to its eventual bankruptcy in 1992.

Despite efforts to restructure, the company struggled and was eventually purchased by Getronics in 1999, marking the end of an era for Wang Laboratories.


Wang Laboratories was at the forefront of the computing industry, pioneering innovative technologies that have had far-reaching impacts. Its contributions in word processing and mainframe computing have been instrumental in shaping the modern world of technology. While the company may no longer be around, its legacy still lives on, and it remains an essential part of the history of computing.

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