Pantograph Card Punch Used at the United States Bureau of the Census

This is a punch used for preparing punch cards for the United States Census of Occupations of 1920. It has a triangular open metal base that holds a plate at the front on which a celluloid plate marked like one of the punch cards used in this census, with appropriate holes, rests. Behind this is a support for a card to be punched. Reaching across the instrument from back to front is a long metal rod which has a punch toward the center and a point at the front that fits into the holes in the celluloid plate.
A mark on the plate reads: OCCUPATION 1920.
A punch similar to this one was used in the U.S. census of population of 1890, the first carried out with tabulating equipment. Other forms of card punch were introduced in 1910, but proved less satisfactory. The year 1920 was the last in which a pantograph punch was used in the U.S. Bureau of the Census.
Compare MA*312896.
Leon E. Truesdell,The Development of Punch Card Tabulation in the Bureau of the Census 1890-1940, Washington: U.S. Department of Commerce, 1965, pp. 140–46, 160.
Currently not on view
Object Name
tabulating equipment
date made
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
paper (overall material)
overall: 10.5 cm x 30.5 cm x 49.5 cm; 4 1/8 in x 12 in x 19 1/2 in
ID Number
nonaccession number
catalog number
Census, US
Science & Mathematics
Tabulating Equipment
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Tabulating Equipment
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Anne Alvarez
Additional Media

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