Reel of Magnetic Tape with COBOL Compiler

Programs and data were entered into many early computers, including those made by Univac and RCA, using reels of magnetic tape like this one. This particular tape carried a compiler for the programming language COBOL. It was used in December 1960, when a COBOL program first ran successfully on computers made by two different manufacturers. Thus it stands as a symbol of the birth of one of the first common programming languages. Computer programmers would come to expect that different brands of computers ran the same languages. COBOL became a routine tool for business programming.
The reel is marked: UNIVAC. It is also marked: COBOL. A piece of tape attached to the back reads: 12/6/60 UNIVAC COBOL COMPILER 2319 UC.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Remington Rand Univac
overall: 3/4 in x 8 in x 8 in; 1.905 cm x 20.32 cm x 20.32 cm
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Computers & Business Machines
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Computers
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Transfer from US Department of Defense
Additional Media

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