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Encyclopedia > Punch card

Punched cards (or Hollerith cards, or IBM cards), are pieces of stiff paper that contain digital information represented by the presence or absence of holes in predefined positions. Now an obsolescent recording medium, for much of the twentieth century punch cards were ubiquitous and were used with unit record machines for input, processing, and data storage and, later, with early digital computers as the primary medium for input of both computer programs and data. Paperboard, within the commercial papermaking industry, is simply the term used to describe a thick sheet of paper. ... Obsolescence is a state of being which occurs when a person, object, or service is no longer wanted, even though it may still be in good working order. ... A recording medium is a physical material that holds information expressed in any of the existing recording formats. ... Herman Hollerith developed punched card and unit record technology for the 1890 census and founded the Tabulating Machine Company (1896) which was one of three companies that merged to form Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (CTR), later renamed IBM. IBM manufactured and marketed a variety of unit record machines for creating... ... The terms computer program, software program, applications program, system software, or just program are used to refer to either an executable program by both lay people and computer programmers or the collection of source code from which an executable program is created (eg, compiled). ... In Computer Science, data is often distinguished from code, though both are represented in modern computers as binary strings. ...

Contents

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History

Herman Hollerith developed punched card and unit record technology for the 1890 census and founded the Tabulating Machine Company (1896) which was one of three companies that merged to form Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (CTR), later renamed IBM. IBM manufactured and marketed a variety of unit record machines for creating, sorting, and tabulating punched cards, even after expanding into computers in the late 1950s. IBM developed punch card technology into a powerful tool for business data-processing and produced an extensive line of general purpose unit record machines. By 1950, the IBM card and IBM unit record machines had become ubiquitous in industry and government. The warning often printed on cards that were to be individually handled, "Do not fold, spindle or mutilate," became a motto for the post-World War II era (even though many people had no idea what spindle meant). Herman Hollerith (1860-1929) Herman Hollerith (February 29, 1860 – November 17, 1929) was an American statistician who developed a mechanical tabulator based on punched cards to rapidly tabulate statistics from thousands and millions of data. ... Herman Hollerith developed punched card and unit record technology for the 1890 census and founded the Tabulating Machine Company (1896) which was one of three companies that merged to form Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (CTR), later renamed IBM. IBM manufactured and marketed a variety of unit record machines for creating... 1896 (MDCCCXCVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... International Business Machines Corporation (IBM, or colloquially, Big Blue) (NYSE: IBM) (incorporated June 15, 1911, in operation since 1888) is headquartered in Armonk, New York, USA. The company manufactures and sells computer hardware, software, and services. ... The 1950s was the decade spanning the years 1950 to 1959. ... Herman Hollerith developed punched card and unit record technology for the 1890 census and founded the Tabulating Machine Company (1896) which was one of three companies that merged to form Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (CTR), later renamed IBM. IBM manufactured and marketed a variety of unit record machines for creating... This article is becoming very long. ... A spindle (or colloquially, a spike) is an upright spike used to hold papers waiting for processing. ...


From the 1900s, into the 1950s, punch cards were the primary medium for data entry, storage, and processing in institutional computing. According to the IBM Archives: "By 1937... IBM had 32 presses at work in Endicott, N.Y., printing, cutting and stacking five to 10 million punched cards every day." [1] Punch cards were even used as legal documents, such as U.S. Government checks and savings bonds. During the 1960s, the punch card was gradually replaced as the primary means for data storage by better, more capable computers that stored information more efficiently on magnetic tape. Punch cards were still commonly used for data entry and programing until the mid-1970s when the the combination of lower cost magnetic disk storage, and affordable interactive terminals on less expensive minicomputers made punch cards obsolete for this role as well. However, their influence lives on through many standard conventions and file formats. The terminals that replaced the punched cards displayed 80 columns of text, for compatibility with existing software. Some programs still operate on the convention of 80 text columns, although fewer and fewer do as newer systems employ graphical user interfaces with variable-width type fonts. // Events and trends Technology First flight by the Wright brothers, December 17, 1903. ... The 1950s was the decade spanning the years 1950 to 1959. ... ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from 1960 to 1969, inclusive. ... Magnetic tape has been used for data storage for over 50 years. ... The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, inclusive. ... Disk Drive is the afternoon show on CBC Radio Two. ... A computer terminal is an electronic or electromechanical hardware device. ... Minicomputer (colloquially, mini) is a largely obsolete term for a class of multi-user computers which make up the middle range of the computing spectrum, in between the largest multi-user systems (traditionally, mainframe computers) and the smallest single-user systems (microcomputers or personal computers). ... This article or section needs a complete rewrite for the reasons listed on the talk page. ...


Today, punch cards are all but obsolete outside of a few legacy systems and specialized applications. A legacy system is an existing computer system or application program which continues to be used because the user (typically an organization) does not want to replace or redesign it. ...

A typical blank punch card of the type used to store data.
Enlarge
A typical blank punch card of the type used to store data.
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Image File history File links Punch-card-blue. ... Image File history File links Punch-card-blue. ...

Card formats

The early applications of punched cards all used specifically-designed card layouts. It wasn't until around 1928 that punched cards and machines were made "general purpose". The rectangular or round bits of paper punched out are called chad (recently, chads) or chips (in IBM usage). Multi-character data, such as words or large numbers, were stored in adjacent card columns known as fields.A group of cards is called a deck. One upper corner of a card was usually cut so that cards not orientated correctly, or cards with different corner cuts, could be easily identified. Cards were commonly printed so that the row and column position of a punch could be identified. For some applications printing might have included fields, named and marked by vertical lines, logos, and more. The most common printed punched card was the IBM 5081 Need image, indeed it was so common that other card vendors used the same number and even users knew its number.


In addition to punching, printing, and handwriting, there were other methods used to record information on punched cards. Two examples were:

  • Mark sense (Electrographic) cards, developed by Reynold B. Johnson, had printed ovals that could be marked with an electrographic pencil. Card punches with an option to detect mark sense cards could then punch the corresponding information into the card.
  • Aperture cards used punch cards for storing "blueprints". A drawing was photographed onto 35 mm film and the image mounted in a window on the right half of the punch card. Information about the drawing, e.g. the drawing number, was punched in the left half.
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Mark sense is a trade name used by IBM for punched card technology that allowed cards marked with a pencil to be converted into punched cards. ... Electrographic a term used for punched card technology that allowed cards marked with a pencil to be converted into punched cards. ... Reynold Johnson was an American inventor and computer pioneer. ... Modern blueprint of the French galleon La Belle. ... Simulated 35 mm film with soundtracks - The outermost strips (on either side) contain the SDDS soundtrack as an image of a digital signal. ...

Hollerith's punch card formats

The punched card Herman Hollerith patented on June 8, 1887 and used with mechanical tabulating machines in the 1890 U.S. Census, was a piece of cardboard about 90 mm by 215 mm (the same size as 1887 US paper currency), with round holes and 24 columns. This card can be seen at the Columbia University Computing History site[2]. Herman Hollerith (1860-1929) Herman Hollerith (February 29, 1860 – November 17, 1929) was an American statistician who developed a mechanical tabulator based on punched cards to rapidly tabulate statistics from thousands and millions of data. ... June 8 is the 159th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (160th in leap years), with 206 days remaining. ... 1887 (MDCCCLXXXVII) is a common year starting on Saturday (click on link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar. ... 1890 (MDCCCXC) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar). ... The United States Census Bureau (officially Bureau of the Census) is a part of the United States Department of Commerce. ...


Hollerith's 45 column punched cards are illustrated in Comrie's The application of the Hollerith Tabulating Machine to Brown's Tables of the Moon[3].

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UNIVAC 90-character punch card format

This UNIVAC card format had round holes, 45 columns with 12 punch locations each, two characters to each column. For the 90-column card character codings, see Winter, Dik T.. 90-column Punched Card Code. Retrieved on October 2006. This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... October 2006 is the tenth month of that year and has yet to occur. ...

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IBM 80 column punch card format

A card from a Fortran program.
A card from a Fortran program.

This IBM card format, designed in 1928[4], had rectangular holes, 80 columns with 12 punch locations each, one character to each column. Card size was exactly 7-3/8 inch by 3-1/4 inch (187.325 by 82.55 mm. The cards were made of smooth stock, 0.007 inch (0.178 mm) thick. In 1964 IBM changed from square to round corners[5]. There are about 143 cards to the inch. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1687x809, 475 KB) Summary Licensing File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Punch card ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1687x809, 475 KB) Summary Licensing File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Punch card ...


The top two positions of a column were called zone punches, 12 (top) and 11. These often encoded plus and minus signs. The lower ten positions represented (from top to bottom) the digits 0 through 9. Originally only numeric information was coded, with 1 or 2 punches per column: digits (digit [0-9]) and signs (zone [12,11] – sometimes overpunching the Least Significant Digit). Later, codes were introduced for upper-case letters and special characters. A column with 2 punches (zone [12,11,0] + digit [1-9]) was a letter; 3 punches (zone [12,11,0] + digit [2-4] + 8) was a special character. The introduction of EBCDIC in 1964 allowed columns with as many as 6 punches (zones [12,11,0,8,9] + digit [1-7]). IBM and other manufacturers used many different 80-column card character codings, see Winter, Dik T.. 80-column Punched Card Codes. Retrieved on October 2006. and Jones, Douglas W.. Punched Card Codes. Retrieved on October 2006. The binary representation of decimal 149, with the lsb highlighted. ... EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code) is an 8-bit character encoding (code page) used on IBM mainframe operating systems, like z/OS, OS/390, VM and VSE, as well as IBM minicomputer operating systems like OS/400 and i5/OS. It is also employed on various non-IBM... 1964 (MCMLXIV) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1964 calendar). ... October 2006 is the tenth month of that year and has yet to occur. ... October 2006 is the tenth month of that year and has yet to occur. ...


For some computer applications, binary formats were used, where each hole represented a single binary digit (or "bit"), every column (or row) was treated as a simple bitfield, and every combination of holes was permitted . For example, the 704/709/7090/7094 series scientific computers treated every row as two 36-bit words, usually in columns 1-72, ignoring the last 8 columns (the 72 columns used were selectable using a control panel). Other computers, like the IBM 1130, used every column. For operator and visitor amusement, in binary mode cards could be punched where every possible punch position had a hole: these were called "lace cards" (such cards lacked structural strength and generally could not be further processed by unit record machines). The binary numeral system (base 2 numerals) represents numeric values using two symbols, typically 0 and 1. ... BIT is an acronym for: Bangalore Institute of Technology Bilateral Investment Treaty Bhilai Institute of Technology - Durg Birla Institute of Technology - Mesra Battles in Time (Doctor Who magazine) Category: ... The IBM 700/7000 series was a series of incompatible large scale (mainframe) computer systems made by IBM through the 1950s and early 1960s. ... Plugboard. ... The IBM 1130 Computing System was introduced in 1965. ... A lace card from the early 1970s. ...


The 80 column card format dominated the industry, becoming known as just IBM cards, even though other companies made cards and equipment to process them.

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IBM 51 column punch card format

This IBM card format was a shortened 80-column card; the shortening sometimes accomplished by tearing off, at a perforation, a stub from an 80 column card. These cards were used in some retail and inventory applications.

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IBM Port-A-Punch

From the IBM Archive: IBM's Supplies Division introduced the Port-A-Punch in 1958 as a fast, accurate means of manually punching holes in specially scored IBM punched cards. Designed to fit in the pocket, Port-A-Punch made it possible to create punched card documents anywhere. The product was intended for "on-the-spot" recording operations -- such as physical inventories, job tickets and statistical surveys -- because it eliminated the need for preliminary writing or typing of source documents.[6].

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IBM Votomatic

From the IBM Archive (1965): In the privacy of the voting booth, the IBM Votomatic was used to register selections on a specially designed punched card ballot.[7].


Punch cards received considerable notoriety in 2000 when their uneven use in Votomatic style systems in Florida was alleged to have affected the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. Invented by Joseph P. Harris, Votomatic was manufactured under license by IBM. William Rouverol, who built the prototype and wrote patents, stated that after the patents expired in 1982 lower quality machines had appeared on the market. The machines used in Florida had five times as many errors as a true Votomatic, he said.[8]. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Presidential election results map. ...


Punch-card-based voting systems, the Votomatic system in particular, use special cards where each possible hole is pre-scored, allowing perforations to be made by the voter pressing a stylus through a guide in the voting machine. These pre-perforated cards are called Port-A-Punch cards (above). One notorious problem with this system is the incomplete punch; this can lead to a smaller hole than expected, or to a mere slit in the card, or to a mere dimple in the card. An incompletely detached chad is a hanging chad. This technical problem was claimed by the Democratic Party to have influenced the 2000 U.S. presidential election in the state of Florida; critics claimed that punch-card voting machines were primarily used in Democratic areas and that hundreds of ballots were not read properly or were disqualified due to incomplete punches, which allegedly tipped the vote in favor of George W. Bush over Al Gore. Electronic voting machine used in all Brazilian elections and plebiscites. ... A voting machine is a device to record and register votes to be counted as per any voting system, with or without printing a ballot for the voter to verify. ... Chads are paper particles created when holes are made in a computer punched tape or punch card. ... Map The U.S. presidential election of 2000 took place on Election Day, Tuesday, November 7. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American businessman and politician, was elected in 2000 as the 43rd President of the United States of America, re-elected in 2004, and is currently serving his second term in that office. ... |- ! Born | March 31, 1948 Washington, D.C. |} Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. ...


Other punch-card voting systems use a metal hole-punch mechanism that does not suffer nearly as much from this fault, although most states have eliminated punch-card voting systems of all types after the 2000 Florida experience.

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IBM 96 column punch card format

A System/3 punch card.
A System/3 punch card.

In the early 1970s IBM introduced a new, smaller, round-hole, 96-column card format along with the IBM System/3 computer. These cards had tiny (1 mm), circular holes much like paper tape. Data was stored in six-bit binary-coded decimal code, with three rows of 32 characters each, or 8-bit EBCDIC, with the two extra holes located in the top rows. For the 96-column card character codings, see Winter, Dik T.. 96-column Punched Card Code. Retrieved on October 2006. Download high resolution version (863x718, 40 KB)System 3 punch card This is a digital photograph I took on August 11, 2004 of an IBM System 3 punch card. ... Download high resolution version (863x718, 40 KB)System 3 punch card This is a digital photograph I took on August 11, 2004 of an IBM System 3 punch card. ... The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, inclusive. ... A System 3 punch card. ... A roll of punched tape Punched tape is an old-fashioned form of data storage, consisting of a long strip of paper in which holes are punched to store data. ... Binary-coded decimal (BCD) is, after character encodings, the most common way of encoding decimal digits in computing and in electronic systems. ... EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code) is an 8-bit character encoding (code page) used on IBM mainframe operating systems, like z/OS, OS/390, VM and VSE, as well as IBM minicomputer operating systems like OS/400 and i5/OS. It is also employed on various non-IBM... October 2006 is the tenth month of that year and has yet to occur. ...

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Standards

  • ANSI INCITS 21-1967 (R2002), Rectangular Holes in Twelve-Row Punched Cards (formerly ANSI X3.21-1967 (R1997)) Specifies the size and location of rectangular holes in twelve-row 3-1/4 inch wide punched cards.
  • ANSI X3.11 - 1990 American National Standard Specifications for General Purpose Paper Cards for Information Processing
  • ANSI X3.26 - 1980/R1991) Hollerith Punched Card Code
  • ISO 1681:1973 Information processing - Unpunched paper cards - Specification
  • ISO 6586:1980 Data processing - Implementation of the ISO 7- bit and 8- bit coded character sets on punched cards. Defines implementation of ISO 7-bit and 8-bit coded character sets on punched cards as well as the representation of 7-bit and 8-bit combinations on 12-row punched cards. This representation is derived from, and compatible with, the Hollorith Code. Ensures widely compatibility with existing punched card files. Intended for general interchange of information among data processing systems.
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See also

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Computing hardware has been an important component of the process of calculation and data storage since it became useful for numerical values to be processed and shared. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Punch card from a Fortran program. ...

References in popular culture

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Brian De Palma Brian De Palma (born September 11, 1940 in Newark, New Jersey) is an Italian-American film director. ...

External links

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Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
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Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... Wikimedia Commons logo by Reid Beels The Wikimedia Commons (also called Commons or Wikicommons) is a repository of free content images, sound and other multimedia files. ... October 2006 is the tenth month of that year and has yet to occur. ... October 2006 is the tenth month of that year and has yet to occur. ...

Notes

  1. ^ IBM Archive: Endicott card manufacturing
  2. ^ Columbia University Computing History: Hollerith 1890 Census Tabulator
  3. ^ Plates from: Comrie, L.J. (1932). "The application of the Hollerith Tabulating Machine to Brown's Tables of the Moon". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 92 (7): 694-707.
  4. ^ IBM Archive: Year 1928
  5. ^ IBM Archive: Old & New Cards
  6. ^ IBM Archive: Port-A-Punch
  7. ^ IBM Archive: Votomatic
  8. ^ (Winter 2001)"IGS Votomatic Prototype Goes to the Smithsonian". Institute of Govermental Studies, Public Affairs Report 42 (4).
 In part, This article was originally based on material from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, which is licensed under the GFDL. 

  Results from FactBites:
 
Punch card - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1871 words)
In that year, punched cards were made a standard size, exactly 7-3/8 inch by 3-1/4 inch (187.325 by 82.55 mm), dimensions almost identical to the large-sized notes used as U.S. currency until 1929.
The punch cards were 7 and 3/8 inches long by 3 and 1/4 inches high and were 0.007 inch thick with one of the upper corners cut at an angle.
Punch card based voting systems, the Votomatic system in particular, use special cards where each possible hole was pre scored, allowing perforations to be made by the voter pressing a stylus through a guide in the voting machine.
Punch card - definition of Punch card in Encyclopedia (1474 words)
In that year, punched cards were made a standard size, exactly 7-3/8 inch by 3-1/4 inch (187.325 by 82.55 mm), reportedly corresponding to the US currency of the day, though some sources characterise this assertion as urban legend.
There were also cards with all the punch positions perforated so data could be punched out manually, one hole at a time, with a device like a blunt pin with its wire bent into a finger-ring on the other end.
In this binary mode, cards could be made in which every possible punch position had a hole: these were called "lace cards." For example, the IBM 700/7000 series scientific computers treated every row as two 36-bit words, in columns 1-72, ignoring the last 8 columns.
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