Flowcharting Template, Bell System

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This clear plastic flowcharting template has a rectangular grid of lines marked in the background and twenty-nine flowcharting symbols arranged in four rows. A scale of ten inches divided to tenths runs across the top. A scale of eighths of an inch, numbered from 1 to 30, runs along the right side. A scale of sixths of an inch, numbered from 1 to 23, runs along the left side. Along the bottom is a scale labeled: ALPHABETIC INTERPRETER TYPE SPACING. Divisions are slightly less than 1/8 of an inch and run from 1 to 60. A mark reads: BELL SYSTEM (/) 38-Y-3991A.
The template fits in a tan paper envelope marked: FLOWCHARTING (/) TEMPLATE.
This device dates from 1965-1966, when the donor worked as a programmer at Western Electric. He writes: "My first assignments were using an IBM 1620, replaced in late 1965 by an IBM 1130. My first applications created paper tapes to control component insertion machines (manufacturing equipment that automatically mounted discrete components on circuit boards). I was programming in FORTRAN and 1620 assembler language. When my programs didn’t work correctly, the insertion machine would mis-position, not matching the components (transistors, resistors, capacitors) to the predrilled holes in the circuit boards. The machine would then methodically, without hesitation, smash the components into the boards, creating minor havoc and small piles of trash. Those experiences were an interesting combination of disappointing, entertaining and scary. But I quickly learned and improved."
Electronic message, August 22, 2014.
Currently not on view
date made
Physical Description
plastic (template material)
paper (envelope material)
overall: .1 cm x 26.6 cm x 12.1 cm; 1/32 in x 10 15/32 in x 4 3/4 in
ID Number
nonaccession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of David A. Studebaker
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Flowcharting Templates
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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