Wikipedia says it was coined in 1957 by Werner Buchholz during the early design phase for the IBM Stretch computer, but doesn't provide a reference.
Earliest patent on Google patent search was filed in 1959:
- Patent number: 3,079,597
- BYTE CONVERTER
- Filing date: Jan 2, 1959
- "From the foregoing discussion, it will be seen that the word "byte" is herein used to define bit-groups made up of selected numbers of bits."
Omegatron 00:15, 23 March 2007 (UTC)