Hollerith Pantograph Card Punch

This cast-iron object has a metal base that holds, at the top front, a sheet of plastic with holes in it, marked with the categories of the 1890 U.S. Census of population. In back of this is a holder for a punched card. A long arm, pivoted at the back, extends over the card and the plastic sheet. It has two projections on it. One fits into holes in the plastic sheet and the other punches holes in the card.The action is similar to that of a pantograph - hence the device is called a pantograph punch.
A mark on the plastic template reads: THE TABULATING MACHINE COMPANY, WASHINGTON, D.C. (/) System Patented January 8, 1889.
For related objects see MA*312895 and MA*312897. Compare 2011.3121.01 and MA*317982.03.
The Tabulating Machine Company was formed by Herman Hollerith in 1896 and merged to form the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company in 1911.
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. 43–44.
Currently not on view
Object Name
card punch
date made
ca 1900
Tabulating Machine Company
Physical Description
plastic (card template material)
metal (overall material)
wood (knob material)
overall: 5 in x 19 1/4 in x 12 1/4 in; 12.7 cm x 48.895 cm x 31.115 cm
place made
United States: District of Columbia, Washington
ID Number
accession 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 International Business Machines Corporation
Additional Media

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