Tabulating Machine Component, Control Panel for an IBM 403 Tabulating Machine

By the late 1940s, the calculations and printout of IBM accounting machines were determined by setting a plugboard like this one and then feeding in data punched on cards. This control panel was used specifically in an IBM 403 tabulating machine, a device introduced in the late 1940s and distributed at least into the late 1960s.
The object has a rectangular metal frame with a metal handle on one of the long edges. It is divided into three sections, each containing a plastic circuit board with numerous holes. Many colorful plastic and cloth-coated wires are plugged into the holes. The board is wired for calculating invoices.
A red tag attached under the handle reads: 403 INVOICE. A tag glued under the panel reads: MFG. BY (/) MAC PANEL (/) COMPANY. This tag also reads: HIGH POINT (/) N. C. and: TYPE 913. A mark stamped at the bottom of one circuit board reads: TYPE 402-403 22573 PRINTED IN USA.
According to the company website, MAC Panel Company was founded in High Point in 1958.
This example came from a programmer who worked with punch card equipment and computers from 1940 until 1985.
IBM, IBM 402, 403 and 419 Accounting Machine Manual of Operation, New York: IBM, 1953, pp. 4–7. This is 2006.3088.03.20.
Accession file.
M. Campbell-Kelly, ICL: A Business and Technical HistoryOxford: Clarendon Press, 1989, pp. 90–92.
Currently not on view
Object Name
tabulating machine component
date made
ca 1960
International Business Machines Corporation
MAC Panel Company
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
cloth (overall material)
overall: 7 cm x 48 cm x 32 cm; 2 3/4 in x 18 29/32 in x 12 19/32 in
place made
United States: North Carolina, High Point
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Tabulating Equipment
Computers & Business Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


Add a comment about this object