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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary (also found in English - English (Wordnet), )
Herman Hollerith
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person The promulgator of the punched card. Hollerith was
born on 1860-02-29 and died on 1929-11-17. He graduated from
Columbia University, NewYork, NY, USA. He joined the US
Census Bureau as a statistician where he used a punched card
device to help analyse the 1880 US census data. This punched
card system stored data in 80 columns. This "80-column"
concept has carried forward in various forms into modern
In 1896, Hollerith founded the Tabulating Machine Company to
exploit his invention and in 1924 his firm became part of
IBM. The Hollerith system was used for the 1911 UK census.
A correspondant writes:
Wasn't Hollerith's original machine first used for the 1990 US
census? And I think I am right in saying that the physical
layout was a 20x12 grid of round holes. The one I have seen
(picture only, unfortunately, not the real thing) did not use
'columns' as such but holes were grouped into
irregularly-shaped fields, such that each hole had a
more-or-less independent function.