punchcard svg file available

Mike Stein mhs.stein at gmail.com
Thu Sep 10 13:57:39 CDT 2015

For a while many utility bills etc. were sent out 
with prepunched cards containing the customer and 
billing information, to be mailed back with your 
payment for proper allocation.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Fred Cisin" <cisin at xenosoft.com>
To: "General Discussion: On-Topic Posts" 
<cctech at classiccmp.org>
Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2015 2:47 PM
Subject: Re: punchcard svg file available

>>>> If you find a source of paper stock that 
>>>> works, please let everyone
>>>> know about it. The real paper is gone, and 
>>>> will likely never be made
>>>> again. It is a specialized stock that is 
>>>> extremely difficult to make.
>>> What is different about it? Thickness? 
>>> Weight/square metre? Density?
>>> Impregnated with something?
> On Thu, 10 Sep 2015, simon wrote:
>> Its hard to explain. it feels tough and 
>> bendable, but it is thinner as you would expect 
>> from the toughness.
> Also, had to have the right friction to slide 
> through, but catch on the rollers.   CDC's 
> optical card readers came later, and made 
> dramatic improvements in DP.
> In those days, the cardstock was extremely 
> available, in large sheets and in precut blanks, 
> in a variety of colors.  Print-shops abounded 
> who would do custom cards, if your business 
> thought that it needed them.
> And yet, some card readers were amazingly 
> tolerant!
> For example, half a century ago, CBS had a bunch 
> of projects, such as the National Driver's Test 
> (1966).  IBM provided the hardware and software. 
> They decided to give out Port-A-Punch cards, 
> which were 80 column cards with every other 
> column of holes pre-perforated, so that anybody 
> could take a special stylus or a random pencil 
> and create their own hanging chips/"Chads". 
> But, how to recollect them?  They actually had 
> people stick a stamp on them and MAIL them! 
> ("Business Reply Mail" would have shifted the 
> franking burden, otherwise it would have made 
> MUCH more sense) They then successfully ran them 
> through the card reader of a 360!  Keep in mind 
> that it was an IBM PR stunt, so they had a CE 
> standing next to the reader, clearing jams in 
> real-time.  I wonder if IBM cheated and modified 
> the input maw?
> So, the specific card-stock is critical, but it 
> worked with a postage stamp stuck to it?
> Although the hardware reliability was a welcome 
> surprise (I wonder how my life would have gone 
> if it hadn't), the software wasn't.  The live 
> statistics weren't adding up close enough to 
> 100%! On camera, Walter Cronkite was stalling, 
> and right behind him, my father was frantically 
> manually adding the numbers.  Starting a week 
> later, there were a copy of McCracken FORTRAN 
> and Decima Anderson's book on my parent's coffee 
> table.
> Instead of continuing to use 084 sorters, we 
> learned a little FORTRAN.
> --
> Grumpy Ol' Fred     cisin at xenosoft.com 

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