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.

Date Made: ca 1960

Maker: International Business Machines CorporationMAC Panel Company

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: North Carolina, High Point

Web Subject: Mathematics


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Mathematics, Computers & Business Machines, Tabulating Equipment


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Benjamin S. Mulitz

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2006.0174.01Accession Number: 2006.0174Catalog Number: 2006.0174.01

Object Name: tabulating machine component

Physical Description: metal (overall material)plastic (overall material)cloth (overall material)Measurements: overall: 7 cm x 48 cm x 32 cm; 2 3/4 in x 18 29/32 in x 12 19/32 in


Record Id: nmah_1381790

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