a-girl-sitting-lonelyDuring the fall of 1968, whilst attending the World’s Fair, located in Queens, Alistair Tyler, a twenty four year old scientist, stumbled on an out-door display called Charlette Austin Pavilion. Located in the Pavilion a huge computing device lit up as it computed the matchmaking process of foreign pen pals which was on display for the Pavilion on-lookers. It began by filling out a set of questions then feeding the answers into the computer, almost immediately receiving a note detailing a match which included the name and address of the computer generated like-minded fellow participator. Understandably, Alistair was quite impressed and thought it was a neat idea. Alistair got in touch with his buddy Alex Gangell, a head programmer for I.B.M., together they began brain-storming methods to adapt this matchmaking approach to find matches in people’s local neighborhoods. A year later, the pair developed a prototype named Technical Automated Compatibility Testing – the first recognized dating service in America.

Clients would pay $5.00 and would be required to answer 100 multiple choice questions. One of the question categories required participants to select from a checklist of dislikes: Foreign people, casual sex, Homosexuals etc etc etc. One of the other categories was named Values and Philosophy, which read, “If I was lucky enough to have had the ability I would have chosen to follow the work of (select one) 1/ Picasso. 2/ Schweitzer. 3/ Einstein. Many of the details within the questionnaire were related to gender. Males would be required to rank and critique images of women’s hair designs. The ladies would be issued with a selection of sketches of men within a variety of surroundings, and would be required to choose what type of man they liked based on a set of questions ranging from: men sheering sheep, painting a portrait, or working in a motor garage. Upon completion of the in-depth survey, the Technical Automated Compatibility Testing then transferred the data into an I.B.M. 1400 Series computer, which would then divulge the five best matches for each participating man and woman.

The Rise of the Dating Service

Thanks to the demolition of the Third Avenue subway, a boom in the building industry saw the influx of white collar workers, mainly young well-informed women who had recently established their own independence, free from family commitments. Technical Automated Compatibility Testing had expanded from the Upper East side of New York, and within just one year, in excess of 5,000 single people subscribed to the dating service.

Over the next few years, the service spread throughout the rest of NYC. Dozens of couples that had been matched by Technical Automated Compatibility Testing attended singles events by invite as a way to create a relaxing groups environment. Tyler and Gangell enjoyed a media frenzy winding up on the front pages of the big newspaper and magazine editions.

Romance Finds Gangell, But With a Twist

Soon after, a lady named Ulma Gretch, from a local radio network, visited the offices of Tyler and Gangell for an interview. Gretch was one of the first female reporters in America, and as her first feature story, put together a three part news story about how couples met in NYC. Tyler was out of the office on this day, so Gangell fronted up for the tell-all interview – which was a brilliant piece of free exposure for the booming matchmakers. In a twist, the batteries died in the interviewers tape recorder, so they agreed to finish the interview over dinner for two – and married two years later. Gangell had always hoped his service would eventually lead him to romance too, inadvertently, it did.

Into the future

The various processes available today for finding a partner, whether it be for the rearing of off-spring, motel aerobics, or for any type of companionship in a lonely world, has the potential to be as consequential and ineffective as it is to find the ultimate click.

Dating sites on the Internet, no matter what their objectives, project the image that there is surely a better way. The methodology of the modern dating services is a systematic approach that relies on highly sophisticated algorithms often based on brain chemistry and mathematical processes making it possible to create potential matches beyond the feats of the human brain.