C-T-Ra corporation composed of three companies that manufactured tabulating machines, scales, and time recorders. InThomas J.
Along the way, the machines also laid the foundation for IBM. The machine was able to collect and count data more rapidly and accurately than manual processes had allowed in the past.
The punched card The punched cards used in the census were 12 rows by 24 columns, and measured 3. They were the first machine-readable media used for data collection.
Inas new arrivals flooded into the United States and the population exploded, the US census turned into an administrative nightmare. Clerks would need eight years to finish compiling the census. A manager at the bureau suggested that there ought to be a machine that could count the population more quickly.
This was the dawn of the age of machines, after all—locomotives, steam-powered mills, computing scales, steam shovels. There was a feeling in the air that machines should be able to do anything, including count.
Hollerith agreed, and set out to build a counting machine. He planned to make it run using a brand new technology of that time: But its core component was something much more familiar and decidedly nontechnical: More than 80 years before, in France, Joseph Marie Jacquard created a way to automate steam-powered weaving looms, guiding them using a series of holes punched into cardboard cards.
The cards contained columns and rows of holes arranged in different patterns. Hooks on gears would reach into the cards. Different patterns punched in the cards produced different textile designs. A few decades later, English mathematician Charles Babbage picked up on the Jacquard design as he tried to build a steam-powered information processor.
Although he never managed to get his Difference Engine built, Babbage laid out detailed designs for what was intended as a polynomial calculating machine comprising gears and crankshafts. He had also observed train conductors punching tickets to identify each passenger. For that matter, in the late s the first player pianos, which responded to holes punched on rolls of thick paper, were becoming popular.
Hollerith was able to piece together the best of those concepts, and use electricity in a new way.
The machine operator would then place the card on a press attached to the tabulating machine and close the cover. This would push a field of pins down onto the card.
The pins that made their way through the holes contacted small cups partly filled with mercury, completing an electrical circuit. This transmitted electrical impulses to the dial-like counters on the machine and the results were registered on the counter board.
After that, Hollerith turned his invention into a business: Porter superintendent of the Census Office in to award me a contract for the use of the machines in compiling the census.
Where would he have been had I failed? By rearranging the wires on a tabulating machine, the contraption could sort through thousands or millions of cards.
The tabulator allowed users to learn things they never knew they could learn, and at speeds no one thought possible. Tabulating machines soon made their way into the back offices of department stores, electric and gas utilities, chemical and drug manufacturers, steelworks, oil companies and, especially, railroads.
InNew York Central and Hudson River Railroad adopted the Hollerith system to audit freight accounts and compile statistics relating to freight traffic—marking the first business application of the Hollerith Machine.
By the time IBM Italy installed the tabulating system for Ferrovie dello Stato state-owned Italian Railways innearly all of the railroads in the United States were using Hollerith tabulating machines to manage schedules, inventory and freight.
Railways in England, South Africa, Argentina, Mexico and other countries were also seeing the benefits of the system by this time. The tabulating machine made IBM into one of the few major corporate success stories of the Great Depression, and launched the company on its path to becoming a computing giant.
The Team The expertise, technical skill, willingness to take risk and overall dedication of IBM employees have led to countless transformative innovations through the years. Meet team members who contributed to this Icon of Progress.
Selected team members who contributed to this Icon of Progress: Herman Hollerith Created the first mechanical punched card tabulator Dr. John Shaw Billings Gave Hollerith the inspiration to pursue a mechanical solution to the problem of processing the census data by automated means.IBM helped pioneer information technology over the years, and it stands today at the forefront of a worldwide industry that is revolutionizing the way in which .
The IBM Disk Storage Unit was designed for use with the IBM ; IBM announced a model 2 in , but when IBM announced the on June 5, , and customers found it to be more attractive than the IBM - International Business Machines Corporation is a multinational technology and consulting organization.
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