What was a punch card machine and when was it used?

For work.

Punch card Machines and machines that stamp a date and time on an card. These were often used in factory's to log employees work time. These are still in use today.

Computer Punch Cards

Punch card machines were the method for creating and storing computer programs. A card with 80 columns would be put in the machine and a line of a computer program punched into it. It had a QWERTY type keyboard and was pretty klunky to use. (I wrote my first computer programs on one!) The cards were stacked up and run through a card reader, which would program the computer and execute the progam.

I believe punch cards came into being in the 1960's. Most places phased out the punch cards in the 1980's, though there might still be a few around. Basically the transition was:

  • Punch Cards
  • Reel to Reel Tape
  • 8" SS Floppies
  • Hard Drives began to be available
  • 5 1/2" SS Floppies
  • 5 1/2" DS Floppies
  • 5 1/2" DS HD Floppies
  • 3 1/2" DS HD Floppies
  • CD-ROM
  • DVD
  • Flash drives