History/Origin of Minitab

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums General Forums Tools & Templates History/Origin of Minitab

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #54065

    Jim Bongard

    I see from Wikipedia that Minitab was developed by Penn State researchers circa ’72. Does anyone in the forum know more about this software over the years? The earliest version I’ve used is Release 12 (not so early). I am interested in a timeline on this fantastic tool.

    Thank You,




    I used MiniTab in college (very long ago and far away) on a Univax mini-computer in 1982-1986. I also used SAS on an IBM mainframe during this time.

    MiniTab helped with the matrix multiplications needed for statistical analysis. As I remember, there were no graphics and limited instructions. A fold-out brochure/card was provided to the students for use. I don’t have particularly fond memories of using it them, but it worked as long as you knew what you were doing. MiniTab’s claim then, as now, was if you didn’t need a full-blown system like SAS, why pay for it?


    Robert Butler

    In 1977 I used version 1.0 (I guess that’s what they would have called it in 1977)at my first job. As noted, the instructions were little more than a fold out brochure. Memory also says that “Minitab” was short for mini-tabulation and the initial package had either a 100 or a 300 data line limit. Instructions for regression etc. were command line but they were very straight forward.

    The big draw of Minitab (and SAS when it appeared on the scene in 1979 at my place of work)was the fact that it freed you from having to develop your own in-house stat programs and/or learn how to link the already exisiting inhouse programs together in order to run an analysis. The big problem with in-house programs was that every one was different and, because they had been built by various individuals at various times there was no consistency as far as data input/output was concerned. The end result was that you spent literally days writing machine code to link the various sub-programs together to do an analysis.

    I can still recall the first meetings with the Minitab and the SAS representatives and the thrill of realizing that, with these programs, I could get on with the business of being a statistician as opposed to a computer programmer.



    You can visit the 40th anniversary “Thank You” page at, which includes a link to a timeline of milestones in the bottom right. For those wanting to take a trip down memory lane, it includes plenty of pictures of old Minitab products.

    As someone who has been working at Minitab for nearly 9 years, I have simultaneoulsy had a relatively long career here and yet covered only a short amount of Minitab’s history. Hearing stories from the early history of Minitab is great and makes me very proud of the company to have users that have been with us for so long.

    Thank you to all of the Minitab customers out there!


    Mike Carnell

    Without the statistical software we have we would not be deploying SS in the current model. The part of the story that does not get told very often is that in 1995 when SS was not as well known as it currently is there was an opportunity to get in the game. Minitab made a commitment by allowing Carol Claouser to spend an inordinate amount of time with us for the money that was being spent. Carol was great at representing to Minitab what the wants needs and desires were from the SS world. There was a complete cast of characters behind her that made the whole thing work. It has been a great relationship over the last 17 years.

    Amazingly enough there are a lot of companies that want a piece of that business (that was sarcasm). I think I feel the same about this as many of us that were around for those early deployments. You stick with the people who stuck with you. We were a relative long shot in 1995 but we got support from Minitab. Everyone won so I stick with the people that brought me to the dance and it has been a fun dance.

    Happy Birthday.

    Just my opinion.


    john kountz

    I was a DEV at Minitab from 92-99, left to join Microsoft in 2000.

    Carol was kick-ass, she did an amazing job.

    The key Designer on SS was Terry Z., key DEV’s Mark L. and Jay A., key testers were Nick and I think Cheryl.



    @rbutler – and you keep telling us you’re not a Minitab user (hah – you ratted your own self out!).

    Personally started using MT in 1981 (ver 4 so says my user manual). Was punch card driven with command line entry. So much nicer today!


    Chris Seider

    @MBBinWI I’m old school but never had the joy of programming or using Minitab with punch cards.

    @Mike-Carnell Carol Clauser was super. Of course, Jenn Atlas is also!

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.