Saving 1962(year) mainframe data

Mr Ian Primus ian_primus at
Thu Nov 13 14:30:28 CST 2008

--- On Thu, 11/13/08, Roger Holmes <roger.holmes at> wrote:

> The punched cards include columns representing all the
> number 0 to 15 plus 1/4, 1/2, 3/4. I even have some 160
> column cards, same as 80 column cards but with two round
> hole positions in each normal rectangular hole position. I
> can read the 80 column cards but not the 160 column ones.

I had actually been thinking about this very problem the other day - how to read in old punch cards without a functional punch card reader. I was thinking that a modern automatic sheet feeding scanner could be pressed into service here. Replace the white backing in the scanner with black material to provide good contrast. Scan the cards, preserving order, into a good machine readable format, something easy to decode. Then, with some not-too-complicated software, one could "read" the scanned image of the cards, producing binary data.

It would be a worthwile (pronounced "fun") hack, and while it probably wouldn't be able to take the place of a good, high quality card reader, it should substitute for an unusual or unavailable reader.


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