Columbia University Computing History
The IBM 2501 Card Reader
The IBM 2501 Card Reader. At Columbia University, the installation of these
units for public use in late 1971 was a significant step along the path of
bringing users and "the computer" closer together. Now, instead of handing
in your deck of cards at the Operator window and coming back the next day to
get the results, you could submit your job yourself, and get the results
from the printer
as soon as your job had reached
the head of the queue, run, and completed.
|Box of punched cards
There was usually a line for the card readers. Jobs might be anywhere from
30-40 cards to several boxes of 2000 cards each. Jams were frequent, and
cards were often "eaten" by the reader, in which case you went back to the
keypunch to make replacement cards, losing your place in line.
IBM, Wikimedia Commons.
Frank da Cruz / firstname.lastname@example.org /
Columbia University Computing History / Feb 2001