Reel of Magnetic Tape with COBOL Compiler

Reel of Magnetic Tape with COBOL Compiler

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Programs and data were entered into many early computers, including those made by Univac and RCA, using reels of magnetic tape like this one. This particular tape carried a compiler for the programming language COBOL. It was used in December 1960, when a COBOL program first ran successfully on computers made by two different manufacturers. Thus it stands as a symbol of the birth of one of the first common programming languages. Computer programmers would come to expect that different brands of computers ran the same languages. COBOL became a routine tool for business programming.
The reel is marked: UNIVAC. It is also marked: COBOL. A piece of tape attached to the back reads: 12/6/60 UNIVAC COBOL COMPILER 2319 UC.
Object Name
date made
Remington Rand Univac
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
overall: 3/4 in x 8 in x 8 in; 1.905 cm x 20.32 cm x 20.32 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Transfer from US Department of Defense
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Computers
Computers & Business Machines
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object