Hollerith card

(also IBM card, punched card), n. A card that records data or machine instructions through a pattern of perforations.


Standard cards are 7⅜ inches by 3¼ inches and contain 12 rows of 80 columns. Some cards had 90 columns.


Ralston 1976, p. 610 Herman Hollerith (b. Buffalo, NY, 1860; d. Washington, D.C., 1929) was the inventor of punched-card data processing and found of a firm that evolved to become IBM. For the quarter-century from 1890 to World War I, he had a virtual monopoly on punched-card data processing. He held the foundation patents on the field (U.S. patents 395 781 – 395 783) and nearly 50 other United States and foreign patents on basic techniques and equipment.