Columbia University Computing History   

IBM 031 Card Punch

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ibm031-1 ibm031-2 ibm031-3 ibm031-4 ibm031-5 ibm031-6 ibm031-7

My name is Paul Varnum and I am an application development manager at the Iowa Department of Transportation. Through an interesting twist of reorganizational fate I also find myself in charge of the DOT's historical archive. The archive recently acquired a piece of IT history. It is an IBM model 031 Alphabetical Duplicating Punch. In doing a little Internet research about the keypunch, I came across your early card punch history pages, and I was very pleased to find a picture of the very machine we had in our possession. I just wanted to drop you a quick e-mail to thank you for maintaining these pages. They are a very valuable resource for anyone doing any research on historical IT equipment. Even IBM does not have a picture of this keypunch.

For your amusement, I attached a few pictures of the keypunch. It was acquired by the DOT in July of 1949, and was one of the first two pieces of IT equipment purchased by the Iowa DOT. I've heard that the other piece was a plugboard tabulation machine. Thanks to you I now know that it was an IBM 405 Alphabetical Accounting Machine. Unfortunately the 405 has been lost to time. I'm amazed that the keypunch machine did not suffer the same fate. It got tucked into the back of a little used closet and forgotten.

The pictures of the keypunch are in the various states of restoration. We're not doing a complete restoration, but instead are just trying to clean it up a little bit. Once we are done cleaning it up, we'll put in on display under a Lucite case. We even found the chad container on the machine filled with chads. We're going to try to incorporate the chads into the display.

Thanks again for creating and maintaining these pages. They are a valuable resource.

Paul Varnum
IT Manager
Iowa Department of Transportation
(Received 21 January 2011)

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