The company that would become Commodore International was started in 1954 in
Toronto as the Commodore Portable Typewriter Company by Polish immigrant and
Auschwitz survivor Jack Tramiel. He was already running a small business repairing typewriters for a few years while living in
New York and driving a taxicab, but managed to sign a deal with a Czechoslovakian company to manufacture their designs in
Canada, and moved to
Toronto to start production. By the late 1950s a wave of Japanese machines forced most North American typewriter companies out of business, but Tramiel instead turned to adding machines.
Commodore is the commonly used name for Commodore International, a West Chester,
Pennsylvania based electronics company who was a vital player in the personal computer field. Commodore developed and marketed the world's best-selling home computer, the Commodore 64. The company declared bankruptcy in 1994, but there have since been several attempts to revive its Amiga systems.
In 1962 the company was formally incorporated as Commodore Business Machines (CBM). In the late 1960s history repeated itself again when Japanese firms started producing adding machines. The company's main investor and chairman, Irving Gould, suggested that Tramiel travel to
Japan to understand how they could compete. Instead he returned with a new idea, to produce electronic calculators, which were just coming on the market.