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What are Punch Cards?

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What are Punch Cards?

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Early mainframe computer programs were contained in stacks of cardboard punch cards. Although it has been many years since they have been used for this purpose, punch cards still have a few uses, and are most notably used in some voting machines. Punch cards were actually invented before electronic computers. Originally patented by Herman Hollerith, the punch card was first used with tabulating machines to record vital statistics by the New York City Board of Health, and later, in the 1890 census. Hollerith actually got the idea from the cards used in Jacquard looms, which use cards to control a weave pattern. Hollerith invented electromechanical machines that included a punch device, a tabulating machine and a sorting machine, which could be used to accumulate and store statistics. His company, the Tabulating Machine Company, was later joined by Thomas Watson, who later renamed the company International Business Machines (IBM). The size and number of columns has varied over the years,

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It says we’ll be filing our cultural data on punch cards.” He laughed and told her to ignore that part since computer advancements had made punch cards obsolete years ago. The mission obviously needed to update their manuals, he said. But he wasn’t laughing on the day in class when they handed him punch cards and loop tapes. The shocked, bewildered look on his face made it difficult for his wife not to burst out laughing. And then a metamorphosis began. Before her very eyes, her quiet, unemotional, logical engineer of a husband became passionate about getting the proper software to missionaries. With the training finished, the family of seven headed out with $385 a month of promised support. They had no idea where the rest was going to come from. But God did. On the first official support check the family received, there among the list of names and gifts given was the little company with a very big number after their name. Because the founder and his believing partners were willing to

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Punch cards are a very old way of programming a computer. The punch card would have long rows of numbers, representing certain instructions. You would punch a hole through the number corresponding to the instruction you wanted to execute. You would then feed the card into the computer, and it would run the program.

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