Founded by Carl Friden (1891-1945) in 1934, Friden was one of the leading providers of high quality mechanical calculating machines. Headquartered in Oakland, California, by the mid-1950s the company had sales and service offices in several hundred places in North America and Europe. By the 1960s they had abandoned the mechanical machines and concentrated their efforts on electronic calculators. They were known primarily as a producer of scientific calculating equipment rather than office machines.
The shift to electronic calculators led them to offer a few products oriented to the digital computing community and, despite the success of their new electronic calculators, they were purchased by Singer in 1965 and they were, in turn, purchased by the British firm International Computers Limited (ICL) in 1976.