The IBM Type 77 (or 077) Collator (left), introduced in 1937 for the Social Security contract, reads two decks of cards from its two input hoppers and sends the cards to any of five output bins based on comparison of the two input cards and the plugboard program. Each card feed reads 240 cards per minute, thus the total speed is 480 cards per minute for two feeds. The Type 77 rented for $80 per month in 1955.
A collator can be used to file new records (cards) into an existing card-based dataset (merging). Or to check sequence, remove duplicates, search for and extract desired records -- a kind of mechanical database query and update engine. It can even compare two decks so you can find out how they differ. As with all IBM card equipment (except key punches and sorters) the functions and details are specified by control-panel wiring.
The Type 85 (or 085) collator from 1958 handled numeric decks and the Type 87 (087) from the same year handled alphanumeric; their two input hoppers hold 800 cards, and each of four output pocket holds 1000. These models operate at up to 480 cards per minute. The Type 88 (or 088) Collator, pictured at left, was introduced about 1959 and processed up to 1300 cards per minute (numeric only). There was also an IBM 89 Alphabetic Collator, apparently predating many of the other 80-series (because it looks like the 77). These are the output pockets of the 85/87 Collator: 4. Selected Secondaries; 3. Selected Secondaries; 2. Merged Cards; 1. Selected Primaries.
The IBM 188 collator from 1961 feeds cards from two feeds at 650cpm each, 1300 total. The primary feed has a capacity of 3600 cards; the secondary 1200. The second image shows the primary feed of the 188 Collator, loaded with approximately 2000 cards.
|Columbia University Computing History||Frank da Cruz / email@example.com||This page created: January 2001||Last update: 5 April 2021|