Hollerith revolutionized the 1890 US Census

by billso on Monday, 4 June 2007

Here’s a brief arti­cle about a favorite class­room exam­ple of mine. The 1890 US Cen­sus used tab­u­lat­ing machine tech­nol­ogy devel­oped by Her­man Hollerith.

His com­pany formed the foun­da­tion of IBM.

This arti­cle from Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity has some more back­ground and this IBM page has the fol­low­ing image of an 1890 tabulator.

I keep a stack of Hol­lerith cards in my office, and some­times I’ll bring these punch cards to class to show stu­dents how data was stored in the ana­log era.

Here’s a punch card from the 1960 US Cen­sus (image cour­tesy Uni­ver­si­taet Kla­gen­furt)

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