Reading ancient paper digital media (was Re: Hamurabi Focal source)

Fred Cisin cisin at
Wed Mar 31 16:45:00 CDT 2010

> My other card reader is mechancial (not optical) and partly home-made. I
> got a reading head from some surplus plave. It has 480 (40 columns of 12)
> mechancial contacs and a solenoid to lift the card against these
> contacts. It reeads half the length of a stanard 80 column card and then
> you put the card i nthe other way round to read the other half.

I used to have a Wang card reader.  It had 480 contacts, but they were
every other column.  It was for "Hanging Chad" port-a-punch type cards. It
was a large clamshell that you manually opened, placed a card in it, and
manually closed.  Therefore, it was not for high-volume service-bureau
card deck reading - slightly slower than keying in the data.  I had
previously used a Wang desktop programmable calculator that had one.  If
you wanted to read a normal 80 column card, you could read the card, turn
it over, and read the other columns, since the margins for IBM cards were
symmetrical.  On the Wang calculator, I used an 026, and made "flippy"
cards for some of the more commonly used macros.

Grumpy Ol' Fred     		cisin at

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