The IBM 601 Multiplying Punch

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The IBM 601 Multiplying Punch, introduced in 1931. It read two factors up to eight decimal digits in length from a card and punched their product onto a blank field of the same card. It could subtract and add as well as multiply. It had no printing capacity, so was generally used as an offline assistant for a tabulator or accounting machine [4]. The 601 that was delivered to Eckert's lab in 1933 was a special model "capable of doing direct interpolation, a very unusual feature, especially designed for Eckert by one of IBM's top engineers at Endicott [NY]" [9]. Eckert went a step further by connecting the 601 to a Type 285 Tabulator and a Type 016 Duplicating Punch through a calculation control switch of his own design, forming the first machine to perform complex scientific computations automatically.

References:

  1. Eckert, W.J., Punched Card Methods in Scientific Computation, The Thomas J. Watson Astronomical Computing Bureau, Columbia University, Lancaster Press, Inc., Lancaster PA (January 1940).
  2. Renner, H.W., Solving Simultaneous Equations through the Use of IBM Electric Punched Card Accounting Machines, IBM, Endicott NY (1946), 8pp.

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Most Recent Update: Wed Jun 9 14:25:26 2004


Frank da Cruz / fdc@columbia.edu / Columbia University Computing History /