IBM Manual Card Punch

For much of the 20th century, data was entered into data processing machines using punched cards. This is a machine for punching such cards manufactured by International Business Machines Corporation of New York.
The tabletop key-driven machine punches twelve rectangular holes per column in 80-column cards. On the right are ten rubber digit keys, a key marked X and a blank key. Keys above these keys move cards one space to the left and all the way to the left. Cards are inserted and removed by hand. The machine rests in an iron base painted black. An enclosed metal cylinder protrudes from the back. The instrument sits at an angle in a wooden box painted green. In the box is a pointed metal rod.
The stamped number on the back right of the machine reads: 98 146. A mark painted across the back reads: HARRIET 8EC GR. A sticker attached to the back of the box reads: I-606 (/) NOT FOR (/) SALE. A mark on the side of the box reads: NASC (/) Rm 207-A (/) BLD #1. There are spaces for tags on the front of the machine, but no tags.
An 80-column punch card and a photocopy of a piece of International Time Recording Company stationery came with this object.
In 1901 Herman Hollerith patented a card punch with keys that was the forerunner of this instrument. IBM cards with rectangular holes and 80 columns were introduced in 1928. Cards with 12 rows of holes date from the early 1930s. This particular machine was for many years the property of IBM employee Robert B. Roberts.
E. W. Pugh, Building IBM: Shaping an Industry and Its Technology, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995, p. 49.
Accession file.
Currently not on view
Object Name
card punch
date made
after 1930
Physical Description
iron (overall material)
steel (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
wood (overall material)
overall: 16 cm x 43.4 cm x 14.7 cm; 6 5/16 in x 17 3/32 in x 5 25/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Computers & Business Machines
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
In Memory of Robert B. Roberts
Additional Media

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