IBM mechnical devices

M H Stein dm561 at
Thu Nov 29 19:44:28 CST 2007

-------------Original Messages:
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 15:30:51 -0800 (PST)
From: Fred Cisin <cisin at>
Subject: Re: Teaching kids about computers...

> > Here's a question - what
> > 8-bitters (or defunct 16-bitters, Atari, Amiga, you
> > know, the common stuff) had COBOL available?
>  > What was SNOBOL? What about COBAL? I think I > have COBAL for the TI PC.

For a while, I had a binder on one of my office bookshelves labelled
"COBAL", due only to having a temporary worker who couldn't spell COBOL.

What is the model number for the EAM card interpreter?
At the college, I had a plugboard from one of them specifically set up for
putting the relevant fields of COBOL source files in handy locations on
the card (the interpreter did 60 columns of text, so it did not line up
with the columns on cards).  That particular plugboard was clearly
labelled "COBOL Interpreter".  So, yes, there was a COBOL interpreter :-)

Grumpy Ol' Fred     		cisin at



There were several different models - see:

We did have one, but I don't recall which one (probably a 557 or 548);
machines that printed card contents on the card were indeed called 

They were used mainly for utility bills, etc. which were often printed on
punched cards to be returned with your payment for processing. We 
didn't do that sort of work very often, and when the cards had to be easily 
human-readable (such as your COBOL cards) they'd be punched on a 
printing keypunch (026) in the first place.

BTW we also had a somewhat rare 047, which was a printing keypunch 
that could also read (and convert) paper tape.


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