Punched cards (Was: 1" paper tape buy ?

M H Stein dm561 at torfree.net
Thu Mar 5 15:30:48 CST 2009


--------------Original Message:

Date: Wed, 4 Mar 2009 14:39:41 -0800 (PST)
From: Fred Cisin <cisin at xenosoft.com>
Subject: Punched cards (Was: 1" paper tape buy ?

Does anybody object to changing the subject line?

My father used to claim that the only reason for existence of the
round-hole, 90, 96 column cards was that IBM patented the particular
rectangular shape of their holes.

He also claimed that IBM patented the whole idea of using a brass roller
for card reading, and that that ALMOST worked to cripple the rest of the
industry, until somebody finally got photocell card reading working.

--------------Reply:

IBM did indeed patent the rectangular holes used in their 80 column
cards. Whether the brass roller was a major factor is questionable;
after all, their competitors also used punched cards.

But there's no question that the general acceptance of IBM's card
format and their locked-in customers were instrumental in IBM 
becoming the giant that they did; while their competitiors struggled 
during and after the depression, punch card sales helped IBM survive
and grow. As late as the mid-fifties punch card sales represented
30% of IBM's bottom line; see:
http://www.cbi.umn.edu/hostedpublications/pdf/IBMRochesterHistory.pdf

mike




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