While I’m working on my next projects, I thought I would contribute to the retrotech part of the Adafruit Show and Tell. My late father-in-law, who worked for IBM from 1940 to 1975, somehow got possession of a 001 Keypunch. He cleaned it up (about 50 years ago), and it’s been in the family ever since.
This is a major piece of computing hardware history as well as computing business history. The 1890 US Census was tabulated using Hollerith cards, but the punching technology was based on train conductors punches–one hole at a time. Businesses soon discovered that all kinds of data could be tabulated in this manner (sales, inventory, personnel, etc., etc.), and the demand grew. The 001 was a major advancement. The 011 electronic keypunch came along in the 20’s, followed by the 80-column card with rectangular holes instead of round in 1928.
Meanwhile, Hollerith sold his company, Tabulating Machine Company, in 1911 and took to farming, The resulting company was the Computing, Tabulating, and Recording Machine Company. In 1914, Thomas Watson, Sr. became General Manager of CTR. He subsequently, became President and the company changed it’s name to International Business Machines (IBM) in 1923.
Also, this was the time frame in which that Fisher, Pearson, et al., were developing modern statistical methods. The ability to tabulate large volumes of data and to apply statistical methods was a huge advance in a number of fields.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.
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