Herman Hollerith

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Herman Hollerith
Birthday
BirthplaceBuffalo, New York
Died
Occupation
Statistician, inventor, businessman
EducationCity College of New York (1875) Columbia University School of Mines (1879)
Known for mechanical tabulation of punched card data

Hollerith, Herman

(hō`lərĭth), 1860–1929, American inventor, b. Buffalo, N.Y. After graduating from Columbia Univ. (B.S., 1879), he worked on the U.S. Census of 1880. Intrigued by the problem of tabulating vast amounts of data, he developed over the next several years a card that could be represent data through a series of punched holes and a number of machines for punching and tabulating the cards. In 1896 Hollerith founded the Tabulating Machine Company which, through mergers and acquisitions, grew into the International Business Machines Company.

Bibliography

See G. Austrian, Herman Hollerith (1982).

Hollerith, Herman

(1860–1929) engineer, computer inventor; born in Buffalo, N.Y. Working as a statistician for the U.S. census of 1880, he became aware of the need for automation in the recording and processing of vast amounts of data. Working first at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and then at the U.S. Patent Office (1884–90), he invented a tabulating machine that was fed data via electrical contacts controlled by the holes in punch cards. His machine won a contest for the best data-processing equipment for the U.S. census of 1890 and he organized the Tabulating Machine Company (1896) to make improved versions that soon were being used by other countries. His company merged with others to become the Computing–Tabulating–Recording Company (1911) which adopted the name of International Business Machines Corporation in 1924. Although he was early praised for revolutionizing statistical processing, it was only decades later that he was recognized as having anticipated the modern computer.

Herman Hollerith

(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 applications.

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.

Herman Hollerith

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References in periodicals archive ?
Saint Paul's, founded by the church in September 1888 to educate Blacks, needed more than the strength of its legacy to thrive, Hollerith points out.
The original computer blueprint, the Hollerith Tabulating machine, developed at the end of the 19th century had to be manufactured using parts with a precision of a millimetre.
As a final example that had a brief period of notoriety in recent years, consider chad meaning 'paper fragment,' often denoting small pieces punched out of cards or paper tapes in various applications (including the obsolete Hollerith card and the archaic paper ballot).
From the Hollerith card to the touch screen machines, faster speed and "absolute" secrecy have motivated voting equipment designers.
In 1889 Herman Hollerith obtained method and apparatus patents titled "Improvements in the Art and System of Computing Statistics" (Letters Patent No.
IBM allegedly put the fantastical numbers in the Holocaust, because it supplied the Hitler regime with the Hollerith calculating machines and other tools that were used to generate lists of Jews and other victims, who were then targeted for deportation and to register inmates [of concentration camps] and track slave labor.
Christian Hollerith studied physics at the Technical University of Munich.
It all began with Herman Hollerith and his punched card, which was the main user interface to computers for the first few decades that computers existed.
Hollerith began designing his machine in 1881 while at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The first is a Hollerith punch-card sorting machine bearing an IBM logo.
Fortunately, just in time for the 1890 census, a census official named Herman Hollerith developed an innovative tabulating device--a machine that read holes punched in cards.
The first exhibit was a Hollerith punch-card sorting machine bearing an IBM logo plate.