World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Tabulating Machine Company

Herman Hollerith
Herman Hollerith in 1888
Born (1860-02-29)February 29, 1860
Buffalo, New York
Died November 17, 1929(1929-11-17) (aged 69)
Washington, D.C.
Resting place Oak Hill Cemetery
Education City College of New York (1875)
Columbia University School of Mines (1879)
Occupation Statistician, inventor, businessman
Known for mechanical tabulation of punched card data
Spouse(s) Lucia Beverley Talcott (1865–1944) (m. 1890–1929)
Awards Elliott Cresson Medal (1890), World's Columbian Exposition, Bronze Medal (1892), National Inventors Hall of Fame (1990), Medaille d'Or, Exposition Universelle de 1889

Herman Hollerith (February 29, 1860 – November 17, 1929) was an American statistician and inventor who developed a mechanical tabulator based on punched cards to rapidly tabulate statistics from millions of pieces of data. He was the founder of the Tabulating Machine Company that later merged to become IBM. Hollerith is widely regarded as the father of modern automatic computation.

Personal life

Herman Hollerith was born the son of German immigrant Prof. Georg Hollerith from Großfischlingen (near Neustadt an der Weinstraße) in Buffalo, New York, where he spent his early childhood. He entered the City College of New York in 1875 and graduated from the Columbia University School of Mines with an "Engineer of Mines" degree in 1879, at age 19. In 1880 he listed himself as a mining engineer while living in Manhattan, and completed his Ph.D. in 1890 at Columbia University. In 1882 Hollerith joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he taught mechanical engineering and conducted his first experiments with punched cards.[1] He eventually moved to Washington, D.C., living in Georgetown, with a home on 29th Street and a factory for manufacturing his tabulating machines at 31st Street and the C&O Canal, where today there is a commemorative plaque installed by IBM. He died in Washington D.C. of a heart attack.

Electrical tabulation of data

At the urging of John Shaw Billings,[2] Hollerith developed a mechanism using electrical connections to trigger a counter, recording information. A key idea was that data could be coded numerically. Hollerith determined that if numbers could be punched in specified locations on a card, in the now-familiar rows and columns, then the cards could be counted or sorted mechanically and the data recorded. A description of this system, An Electric Tabulating System (1889), was submitted by Hollerith to Columbia University as his doctoral thesis, and is reprinted in Randell's book.[3] On January 8, 1889, Hollerith was issued U.S. Patent 395,782,[4] claim 2 of which reads:

The herein-described method of compiling statistics, which consists in recording separate statistical items pertaining to the individual by holes or combinations of holes punched in sheets of electrically non-conducting material, and bearing a specific relation to each other and to a standard, and then counting or tallying such statistical items separately or in combination by means of mechanical counters operated by electro-magnets the circuits through which are controlled by the perforated sheets, substantially as and for the purpose set forth.

Inventions and businesses


Hollerith had left teaching and begun working for the United States Census Office in the year he filed his first patent application. Titled "Art of Compiling Statistics", it was filed on September 23, 1884; U.S. Patent 395,782 was granted on January 8, 1889.[5] Patents 395,781 395,782 and 395,783 were published in Scientific American on January 18, 1889.[6]


Hollerith built machines under contract for the Census Office, which used them to tabulate the 1890 census in only one year.[7] The previous 1880 census had taken eight years. In 1896 Hollerith started his own business when he founded the Tabulating Machine Company. Many major census bureaus around the world leased his equipment and purchased his cards, as did major insurance companies. Hollerith's machines were used for censuses in England, Italy, Germany,[8] Russia, Austria, Canada, France, Norway, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Philippines, and again in the 1900 census[9] To make his system work, he invented the first automatic card-feed mechanism and the first key punch (that is, a punch operated by a keyboard); a skilled operator could punch 200–300 cards per hour. He also invented a tabulator. The 1890 Tabulator was hardwired to operate only on 1890 Census cards. A plugboard control panel in his 1906 Type I Tabulator allowed it to do different jobs without being rebuilt (the first step towards programming). These inventions were among the foundations of the modern information processing industry and Hollerith's designs dominated the computing landscape for almost 100 years.

In 1911 four corporations, including Hollerith's firm, merged to form the Computing Tabulating Recording Company (CTR).[10] Under the presidency of Thomas J. Watson, it was renamed International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) in 1924.

See also

  • Hollerith constants, also sometimes called Hollerith strings, were an early type of string constant declaration (in computer programming), named after Herman Hollerith.
  • Hollerith card

Notes

Further reading

External links

  • WorldCat catalog)
  • Hollerith's patents from 1889: US 395783 Template:Ifeq
  • Hollerith's 1890 Census Tabulator
  • IBM Archives: Herman Hollerith
  • IBM Archives: Tabulating Machine Co. plant
  • Early Office Museum: Punched Card Tabulating Machines
  • Hollerith page at the National Hall of Fame
  • Map to his gravesite
  • Columbia University Computing History: Herman Hollerith
  • .
  • The Norwegian Historical Data Center: Census 1900 Includes a description of the use of Hollerith machines ("complicated, American enumeration machines"), together with illustrations.
  • – Hollerith's house
  • The Hagley Museum and Library includes the research materials Geoffrey Austrian used to write Herman Hollerith: Forgotten Giant of Information Processing.
  • Hagley Museum and Library. Richard Hollerith was the grandson of Herman Hollerith and part of this collection documents the sale and settlement of the Herman Hollerith estate following the death of his last remaining child, Virginia.

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.