Tabulating EquipmentThe Bureau of the Census to Remington Rand
In 1902 the Census Office became a permanent U.S. government agency, the Bureau of the Census. Simon N. D. North, the Director of the Bureau from 1903, believed that renting tabulating machines from Hollerith’s Tabulating Machine Company was too expensive. North established a machine shop staffed by engineers and mechanics to develop alternate systems. These machines were used in the census of population in 1910, 1920, and 1930. Tabulating equipment from the later period survives at NMAH.
James Powers, one of the first inventors hired by North, left to establish his own business in 1911. Although no machines of the Powers Accounting Machine Company survive in the Smithsonian collections, parts from them are represented. The company went bankrupt in 1920, but development of mechanical card punch equipment along the lines Powers envisioned continued. Remington Rand acquired Powers when it formed in 1927, and made punched card accounting machines into the 1950s. These were used not only in business and government but by organizations such as labor unions.
"Tabulating Equipment - The Bureau of the Census to Remington Rand" showing 1 items.
- From the early 20th century, a few American offices used punched cards to enter data onto accounting machines. In 1929 the Powers Accounting Machines Division of Remington Rand, Inc., introduced a "double deck" punch card for data entry. It had two sets of 45-column rows, for a total of 90 columns. This desk-sized, electrically powered device punched both 45 and 90 column cards. Keys at the right front set the machine. Pressing the "TRIP" bar in front of these activated the punch. The machine could be set to punch duplicate data, or to duplicate cards. With special key tops, not present on this version of the machine, one could enter alphabetic data, not simply numbers.
- The machine has a mirror, which should be mounted, for viewing cards.
- A tag on the front of the machine reads: Remington Rand. It lists patent numbers ranging from 1,643,779 (issued September 27, 1927) to 2,203,355 (issued June 4, 1940). A red tag attached to one edge reads: 020300 14946 4. A metal tag near one corner reads: VA9-14946.
- L. Heide, Punched-Card Systems and the Early Information Explosion 1880–1945, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009, esp. pp. 76–96.
- Powers Accounting Machines Division of Remington Rand, Inc., "Powers Reference Manual," Buffalo, N.Y.: Powers Accounting Machines, 1935.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- ca 1940
- Remington Rand Inc.
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center