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Giants of Computing pp 139–141

Hollerith took a position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1882 and taught mechanical engineering. He remained interested in the problem of automating the tabulated census data and examined the workings of the Jacquard loom to see if it could assist. The main feature of the Jacquard loom that he considered applicable was its use of punched cards, as these were an efficient way of storing information. He also observed that it should be possible to punch information onto a card, as a conductor might do on a train. Hollerith conducted a number of experiments at the institute and initially employed a paper tape rather than cards. A pin could go through a hole in the tape and complete an electrical circuit, and Hollerith later replaced paper with cards as these offered a more effective solution.

O’Regan, G. (2013). Herman Hollerith. In: Giants of Computing. Springer, London.


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