IBM 129 Card Data Recorder

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So cool, Hudson writes

This weekend PMF and I cleaned an IBM 129 Card Data Recorder and were able to fairly reliably punch cards once we were done. When we started it would frequently jam during feeding, mis-feed during the punch, and not cleanly stack the cards in the output bin.

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  1. Bradley S Schmidt

    “… it would frequently jam during feeding, mis-feed during the punch, and not cleanly stack the cards in the output bin.”

    That describes exactly the way the 129s worked that I used in college. We actually preferred the 029s, because there was a more direct correlation of a keystroke with the punch operation.

    At least, that’s how I remember it. (This was in the 70’s, after all.)

  2. Wow. I remember using a machine like this back in college (Cornell approx 76-78). Not sure if it was this or the 029. I much preferred the interactive machines – Plato and some limited access IBM multi-user account to the punch cards. However these were required for a couple of the classes… hmm actually most of the classes. Cornell didnt have a CS undergrad program back then, which is one reason I have a BS Computer Engineering from U. Bridgeport.

  3. Certainly you jest? What you describe is "normal" operation! Fun to reminisce but I don’t miss these things!

  4. WOW! What a blast from the past! I haven’t seen an 0129 since 1983 when I left the field! I used to be an IBM Field Engineer (’79 to ’83). I used to fix those machines! I also fixed the older 026 (tube based electronics) and the 029 relay based card punch (unit record) machines. These 0129’s could also be used as a verifier (059 was a standalone verifier mostly used with the 029) to essentially “verify” that cards previously punched had in fact been punched correctly by placing the previously punched cards into the feed hopper and feeding one at a time and re-keying from the same original data input sheets – if they didn’t match the machine would tell you. You could call this data quality control for punched cards! Where did you find this machine? Here is a treasure trove of wonderful computer history over at Columbia University: – also specific pages for the 026 card punch (the tube one) and the 029 and the 0129 where it looks like you got the ad in your posting. Later when the IBM System 3 came out it introduced 96 column punched cards that were about 1/2 the size of the 80 column cards and its card punch machine was the 5496. Thanks for this posting, it brought a smile to my face!

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