Invisible Airs, Contraptions, Bristol, UK

bnr#55 => Invisible Airs, Contraptions, Bristol, UK

Hollerith Punch Card

Object: 23

Hollerith Punch Card

Date of origin: 1890
Author/inventor/context: Herman Hollerith

A data storage medium used in 19th and 20th Centuries. Punch cards were made of thin cardboard with holes punched manually or mechanically. A 96 column punch card developed by IBM in the 1970s stored up to 64 bytes of data and weighed 2.4g. Thus, 1GB of data would weigh 40.265 tons. When deployed for the US census in 1890, punch cards reduced the length of data evaluation to one year instead of ten. Ever since, an entire nation could be fitted into holes. Throughout the 1930s IBM supplied Hitler's regime with punch cards and tabulation equipment, ensuring that Jews could be traced and eliminated by the Nazis.

Anna Blumenkranz