Reel of Magnetic Tape with COBOL Compiler

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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.
date made
Remington Rand Univac
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
overall: 3/4 in x 8 in x 8 in; 1.905 cm x 20.32 cm x 20.32 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Transfer from US Department of Defense
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Computers
Computers & Business Machines
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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