Computers & Business Machines
Imagine the loss, 100 years from now, if museums hadn't begun preserving the artifacts of the computer age. The last few decades offer proof positive of why museums must collect continuously—to document technological and social transformations already underway.
The museum's collections contain mainframes, minicomputers, microcomputers, and handheld devices. Computers range from the pioneering ENIAC to microcomputers like the Altair and the Apple I. A Cray2 supercomputer is part of the collections, along with one of the towers of IBM's Deep Blue, the computer that defeated reigning champion Garry Kasparov in a chess match in 1997. Computer components and peripherals, games, software, manuals, and other documents are part of the collections. Some of the instruments of business include adding machines, calculators, typewriters, dictating machines, fax machines, cash registers, and photocopiers
Record of Punching Cards at the New York Central for the Month of April 1904
- From 1895 inventor Herman Hollerith wooed the New York Central Railroad as a commercial customer for his tabulating machines. This small paper card records his success. It reports that in April 1904, key punch operators at the Central punched a total of 428,502 cards, averaging 258 cards per clerk per hour. The record for one clerk was 70,535 cards punched, averaging 413 cards per hour.
- Reference: G. D. Austrian, Hermann Hollerith: Forgotten Pioneer of Information Processing , New York: Columbia University Press, 1982, pp. 111–141.
- Currently not on view
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- National Museum of American History