20 Fun Facts About The ThinkPad Laptop

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of ThinkPad on October 5, we’re sharing 20 of the most interesting, fun and unique facts about the iconic laptop. Let us know which ones are your favorites!   

  1. The original inspiration for the design of the ThinkPad came from the Japanese Bento-Bako box.


  1. Coined in 1991, the name “ThinkPad” was inspired by the leather-bound pocket notepads—embossed with the motto “Think” on the front cover—once issued to all IBM employees.


  1. The original ThinkPad was actually a slate tablet. The pen-operated ThinkPad 700T, introduced in 1992, was designed as a flat, one-piece device that people could write on. Watch Lenovo’s Howard Dulany talk about the ThinkPad 700T here.  
  2. Inspired by design elements in cars, every ThinkPad notebook comes with an “airbag” accelerometer system, which detects sudden movements to protect the hard drive, and most model feature a magnesium-alloy roll cage to shield critical internal parts from damage.


  1. The material used in the ThinkPad roll cage is also used in exteriors of aircraft and F1 cars.
  2. A Lenovo engineer who observed an owl fly silently through the air realized he could model the fan blades inside a laptop PC based on the unique design of an owl’s wings. The result is cooler and   quieter systems.
  3. The ThinkPad 701C has a pop-up, full-sized keyboard (nicknamed the ‘butterfly’ laptop) that is wider than the actual laptop when it is closed shut. For more on innovative ThinkPad design, check out the blog of David Hill, Vice President, Lenovo Corporate Identity & Design, here


  1. The fold-out butterfly keyboard, which appeared in the ThinkPad 701C, is widely considered a design masterpiece and is part the Museum of Modern Art’s collection in New York since 1995.
  2. An IBM researcher, while putting together a puzzle with his daughter, had been struck by an extraordinary inspiration for the ThinkPad’s butterfly keyboard: Separate the keyboard in two joint blocks that would expand and withdraw when you open and close the display. The ThinkPad 701C keyboard represented a major shift in technology by enabling a standard-sized keyboard to be incorporated into a small laptop for more comfortable typing.
  3. James Bond is briefly seen using a ThinkPad 701 in the 1995 film, GoldenEye (around the 51:22 mark), while he is being briefed by Q in his laboratory.
  4. The ThinkPad 701 also made a blockbuster appearance in the film, Blood Diamond (2006), used by journalist Maddy Bowen, who is played by Jennifer Connelly.
  5. In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the Decepticon-turned-Autobot named “Brains” is a ThinkPad Edge.

  1. Numerous ThinkPad laptops have been used in Space Missions. In fact, ThinkPad laptops first flew aboard the U.S. Space Shuttle on Dec. 2, 1993 on the Shuttle Endeavour's flight to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.


  1. The ThinkPad T400s survived being run over by the 26,000 pound DOW truck in 2009.
  2. Many ThinkPad laptops pass MilSpec tests, whereas the competition requires special ruggedized laptops for success.
  3. The updated ThinkPad Touchpad texture, introduced in 2009 on the ThinkPad T400s, was inspired  by the innovative square Tenji block system used in Japanese train stations and sidewalks to guide or warn visually impaired pedestrians. 


  1. The unique padding of a cat’s paw inspired the rubber padding of the bottom of ThinkPad laptops.
  2. In 1999, the ThinkPad became the industry’s first mini-laptop, weighing less than three pounds, with standard ports and a keyboard that is 95 percent of full-size.
  3. Introduced in 2009, the ThinkPad W700ds became the industry’s first dual-screen mobile workstation.
  4. Every Lenovo ThinkPad is essentially equipped with its own IT team. Behind the blue ThinkVantage button is a whole arsenal of self-help tools called ThinkVantage Technologies, to help you restore your PC and solve problems when you’re miles away from your IT department.