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
- For the first half of the 20th century, much data was entered into data processing machines using punched cards. This machine for punching such cards was manufactured by International Business Machines Corporation of New York.
- This key-driven, manual punch has 14 black keys. Twelve are for the 12 rows on a punch card. These are labeled from 0 to 9, X, and blank. Another key moves the card one space to the left and the last releases it. Keys are fed in from the right. A portion of a punch card attached in back of the machine has a pointer attached to it which allows one to determine the column of the card one is punching. The device is set up for 80-column cards and punches rectangular holes. A cylindrical protrusion extends from the back of the machine.
- A metal tag attached to the front of the object reads: PROPERTY OF (/) INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. (/) 001-12036-JH (/) ENDICOTT, NEW YORK, U.S.A. A mark stamped into the back of the card bed reads: 01 202.Two rods are marked at the front below the punching position: 202.
- IBM cards with rectangular holes and 80 columns were introduced in 1928. Cards with 12 rows of holes date from the early 1930s.
- E. W. Pugh, Building IBM: Shaping an Industry and Its Technology, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995, pp. 48–49.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- after 1930
- International Business Machines Corporation
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History