(j3.2006) Do you want a copy of this?

Bill Long longb
Tue Apr 12 17:13:11 EDT 2011

Yes, please.  Thanks Van.


On 4/12/11 3:53 PM, Van Snyder wrote:
> I've received a scan of a letter from Herman Hollerith to somebody named
> Wilson (no first name given), dated 7 August 1919.  My friends at Haus
> zur Geschichte der IBM Datenverarbeitung in Sindelfingen believe Wilson
> was director of data processing at the US Census Bureau during WW II.
> It gives some insight into how Hollerith came up with the idea for
> punched cards, and some of the work he did between 1880 and 1919.
> Interestingly, he mentions paper tape, and explains why he rejected it.
> "My idea at the time was to use a strip of paper and punch the record
> for each individual in a line across the strip.  then I ran this strip
> over a drum and made contacts through the hole to operate counters.
> This you see gave me an ideal automatic feed.  The trouble was however
> that if for example you wanted any statics [sic] regarding chinamen you
> would have to run miles of paper to count a few chinamen....  I then
> abandoned the continuous strip and took up individual cards."
> Let me know if you want a PDF.

Bill Long                                           longb at cray.com
Fortran Technical Support    &                 voice: 651-605-9024
Bioinformatics Software Development            fax:   651-605-9142
Cray Inc./Cray Plaza, Suite 210/380 Jackson St./St. Paul, MN 55101

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