My former colleague and friend Peter Bird has died aged 82. Today computers are ubiquitous and have transformed many aspects of business administration and how we live our daily lives. But the so-called information age ushered in by computing and communications technology dates only from the middle of the last century.

Peter, who had worked with J Lyons & Co, the food company famed for its teashops, and the unlikely pioneer of the use of computers in business from the 1950s, chronicled the Lyons initiative in his groundbreaking book LEO: The First Business Computer (1994), and later the story of J Lyons itself in The First Food Empire: A History of J Lyons & Co (2000). Both books were meticulously researched and compiled, with original photos from the respective eras.

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