Friday, September 28, 2012

Can you identify this?

If you can, then chances are you're either (a) old, or (b) a computer geek, or possibly even an old computer geek. It's a punchcard, what we used to communicate with computers back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth.

I came across it recently while checking some facts for my series on Shaker sites. I found it hiding between the pages of The People Called Shakers by Edward Deming Andrews. Inside the front cover was a return address sticker we'd used to identify ownership of the book. It listed the address of the house we rented while I was a graduate student. Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.


  1. Lol...I admit to knowing whta "it" was, the minute I saw "it"....
    My first job in a bank, and we had just changed over to a central computer, and HUGE it was too :)

  2. We tend to think our grandparents lived through great change - but in so many ways what we've seen in our lifetimes has been colossal. When I was at uni, computer science was learning to program a huge mainframe. We'd have been astonished then to see my little iPhone.

    1. You are so right. My grandmother lived to see the first airplane fly over our home county in Kentucky, and then watched men walk on the moon. But what has happened since boggles the mind. Knowledge has to become more and more specialized if there's any hope of keeping up, but at the same time we are losing the ability to communicate with one another. Who will be the generalists of the future? Who will integrate knowledge into systems that will make the world understandable? It's a huge challenge.

  3. I use to punch those! I remember I had to hand them to a technician who would run them through the computer, and then quite a while later I could pick up a print-out. Major production to run a short program.

  4. He died at the console
    Of hunger and thirst.
    Next day he was buried,
    Face down, 9-edge first.