Wang Laboratories was a computer company founded in 1951 by Dr. An Wang and Dr. G. Y. Chu. The company was successively headquartered in Cambridge (1954–1963), Tewksbury (1963–1976), and finally in Lowell, Massachusetts (1976–1997).
At its peak in the 1980s, Wang Laboratories had annual revenues of $3 billion and employed over 33,000 people. In 1955 when the core memory patent was issued, Wang sold it to IBM for $500,000 and incorporated Wang Laboratories with Dr. Ge-Yao Chu, a schoolmate. Wang began making desktop electronic calculators with digital displays. Wang calculators were at first sold to scientists and engineers, but the company later won a solid niche in financial-services industries, which had previously relied on complicated printed tables for mortgages and annuities.
From 1965 to about 1971, Wang was a well-regarded calculator company. Wang calculators cost in the mid-four-figures, used Nixie tube readouts, performed transcendental functions, had varying degrees of programmability, and exploited magnetic core memory. One model had a central processing unit (the size of a small suitcase) connected by cables leading to four individual desktop display/keyboard units.
By 1970 the company had sales of $27 million and 1,400 employees. They began manufacturing word processors in 1976 based on the Zilog Z80 processor. Typical installations include SIMM memory another one of Dr Wang’s 44 patents. In addition to calculators and word processors, Wang's company diversified into minicomputers in the early 1970s. The Wang 2200 was one of the first desktop computers with a large CRT display and ran a fast hardwired BASIC interpreter. The Wang VS system was a multiuser minicomputer whose instruction set was very close to the design of IBM's System/370. The Wang VS serial terminals could be used in data processing mode and word processing mode. They were user-programmable in data-processing mode and used the same word processing software as the earlier dedicated word processing systems.