A COLLECTION OF PUNCHED CARDS
By Jim Scott, July 2016




INTRODUCTION

Throughout most of my career as a programmer, punched cards were part of my everyday life. At my first job in 1962 with the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company, the entire Virginia telephone customer database was on punched cards - many, many cabinets full of cards. That soon gave way to data storage on disk and tape, but cards were still plentiful. Through the 1960s, during program testing, program source code was generally stored on cards. The first data processing application I ever saw (named FORMAT) in the late 1960s, got its input from cards. Even into the late 20th century, small decks of punched cards were still used to submit jobs to run on mainframe computers; on IBM systems, these were called JCL cards, for "Job Control Language".

As time went by, I tried to save at least one of each type of punched card I came across. This is the collection I wound up with. Each of these cards is different, although sometimes fine distinctions are made, such as whether the corner cut is at the upper left or the upper right.

I use the term "punched card" for these cards, even those that don't have holes in them. Indeed, as you'll see from the examples, some were probably never intended to be punched. Nevertheless, all of the examples here were capable of being punched by card punch machines (also known as keypunch machines).

You can see a manual for the IBM model 24 and 26 card punch machines here. (Thanks to Charles Hague.)

Almost all of the examples here are 80-column, 12-row cards for use with IBM (and compatible) mainframe computer systems. They measure 7 3/8" wide by 3 1/4" high. I do not have any examples of the 90-column round-holed cards for Univac systems.

The cards were scanned with a black background to make the corners and any punched holes stand out; the little black areas you see at the corners and edges are not part of the card.

Click any card to see a larger image; use your browser's "Previous Page" button to return.

You can either scroll down continuously, or use the following links to go directly to a specific topic:
General Purpose Cards
The Most Ordinary of All, the Venerable 5081
Cards for Companies and Organizations
Cards for Government Departments
Cards for Colleges and Universities
Cards for Programming Languages
Cards Not Meant To Be Punched
Miscellaneous and Odd Balls

GENERAL PURPOSE CARDS


IBM 5050: Most card designs have a manufacturer designation and a form number printed in the margin.
On this card it's at the bottom edge, near the left. IBM is the manufacturer, and 5050 is IBM's designation for this particular layout.
The rows, starting at the top, are called the 12-row, the 11-row, the 0-row, the 1-row, and so on down to the 9-row.
The columns, of course, are numbered 1-80.
The letters printed across the card show where the holes would be for each alphabetical character.
The letter "J" would be represented by two holes, one in the 11-row ("J Thru R") and one in the 1-row.
A number 0 through 9 was a single hole in the corresponding 0-9 row.


Red IBM 5050.


Orange IBM 5050


IBM 5050 with orange top stripe.


IBM 5050 with blue top stripe.


IBM 5050 with green top stripe.


IBM 5050 with purple top stripe.


IBM 5280, a general purpose format divided into eight fields.


Yellow IBM 5280.


IBM E44945, another general purpose format divided into eight fields.


EAC 733727, a general purpose format divided into 20 fields.


IBM 507536

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THE MOST ORDINARY OF ALL, THE VENERABLE 5081


IBM 5081 with upper left corner cut, buff color.
This was probably the most common type of punched card.


IBM 5081 with no corner cut.
The main purpose of a corner cut was to allow easy visual detection of individual cards that had gotten turned the wrong way within a stack of cards.
That wouldn't have worked for a deck of these cards with no corner cut.


CDC 5081 with upper right corner cut; CDC was another company that manufactured punched cards.
This card, of course, is a copy of IBM's 5081.


NECC-5081. Most cards in this collection are not punched, but this one is.
The printing across the top edge shows the characters represented by the punched holes.
The term for this printing is "interpretation".
Most cards that are punched are interpreted at the same time.
But cards punched with "binary" data can not be interpreted or even duplicated without damage to the card punch machine.


Orange IBM 5081, upper left corner cut.


Orange Lewis 5081, upper right corner cut.


Yellow IBM 5081.


Green IBM 5081.


Blue IBM 5081.


Brown IBM 5081 with upper left corner cut.


Brown CDC 5081 with upper right corner cut.


IBM 5081 with orange top stripe.


IBM 5081 with red top stripe and upper left corner cut.


IBM 5081 with red top stripe, and upper right corner cut.


IBM 5081 with green top stripe.


IBM 5081 with blue top stripe.


OEI 5081.


OEI E5081.


Globe No. 1 Standard Form 5081.


Pryor 5081.


NECC/5081-76 design for the American Bicentennial in 1976.

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CARDS FOR COMPANIES AND ORGANIZATIONS


IBM F19936 card for IBM Datacenters.


Advanced 81343 card for TCC (The Computer Company, in Richmond, Virginia).


NECC/HP-22747 card for TCC.


NECC/HP-29113 "EDOS" card for The Computer Software Company, in Richmond Virginia (an offshoot of TCC).


Advanced 73930 card for Innovation Data Processing.


24782 Pryor 73612 card for Business Keypunch of Virginia, Inc.


IBM E14807 "Receiving & Incoming Inspection Report" card for Bendix Avionics Division.


L38469 "Mark IV File Management System" card for Informatics, Inc.


OEI E24985 general purpose card for Pansophic.


IBM E63098 voting card for Common Cause.
As the printed instructions indicate, voting was done by punching out the appropriate pre-perforated holes.

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CARDS FOR GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS


AMICO 228 "General Purpose Card" ("Form 3734(2-64)") for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service.


CDC HPT 12533 "Apprentice Directory" card for the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.


CDC HPT 12534 "Programs - Occupations - Apprentices" card for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


IBM D48307 "Substitute Application File Card" for the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).


IBM D66938 "Dealer Master 1" card for the Virginia DMV.


IBM D66937 "Dealer Master 2" card for the Virginia DMV.


NECC/HP-27136 "Rehiring Credit Provision Notification" card ("VEC-FC-28A (10-1-75)") for the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC).
This card would have been punched at VEC and sent to the hiring organization in question.
It would also have been interpreted, so that the recipient could read, across the top edge, the employee number, employee name, and other data punched on the card.
That organization could reply with handwriting on the card, and send it back to VEC.


IBM E43480/1 "Claim for Benefits" card for VEC.
Both sides are shown here.
Although this card would clearly be filled out by hand, the column markings at the top edge indicate that eventually at least some of the data would be punched.


IBM E42786/E36931 "Claim for Benefits" card for VEC.
This is very similar, other than color, to the previous card.
But there are some differences, and the two cards have different revision dates.


NECC/HP-27294/B "Claim for Benefits" card for VEC.
It appears to be identical to the previous card, except for the manufacturer and card style number.


IBM E25627/8 "Claimant Address Card" for VEC.
Both sides are shown here.


IBM E43448 "Labor Turnover" card, probably for VEC.


IBM D52471 "Voucher & Miscellaneous Documents" card for the Virginia Department of Highways.


IBM 844288 "Offense and Investigative Card" for the Virginia State Police.


CDC/HPT 12086 "Modus Operandi File" card, probably for the Virginia State Police.


BP16680 BSC "Master-Index Card" for the Virginia Supplemental Retirement System (VRS).

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CARDS FOR COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES


CDC/HPT 12901 general purpose card for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC).


EAC H-1P 4308 G "Customer Name Master Card" for the UNC Press, a business venture of UNC.


EAC/CDC HPT 10605 general purpose card for North Carolina State University (NCSU).


Another EAC/CDC HPT 10605 general purpose card for NCSU, this time in blue.


IBM E37448 "Job Card" for Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).


IBM E44123 employee time card for VCU.


IBM E17433 general purpose card for Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).


IBM E17433 general purpose card with red top stripe for Virginia Tech.


IBM E17434 job control language card for Virginia Tech.


IBM E26271 "CDC 6000 Job Card" for the University of Virgina (UVA).
The CDC 6000 was a series of mainframe computers manufactured by Control Data Corporation.


IBM E25370 card for UVA.
The printed warning suggests that this type of card was intended for use with binary data.


Another IBM E25370 card for UVA, this time in blue.


IBM D85079 general purpose card for the College of William & Mary (W&M).


IBM E43158 "Student Course Request Card" for W&M.


IBM E23688 "S/360 Job Card" for W&M.
The System/360 was a series of mainframe computers manufactured by IBM.


IBM D86354 "Master & Course Card" for Bridgewater College.


IBM D99924 card for Bridgewater College.
This card has pre-perforated holes and was probably used for taking a test or exam.
The student would write his or her name on the left edge, then would enter the student number and test answers by using a stylus to punch out the appropriate holes.


IBM E44447 "ADM 101" card for John Tyler Community College.


IBM E19434 general purpose card for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.


IBM D96999 "Class Card - T" for an unidentified university, most likely UNC.


Another IBM D96999 "Class Card - T", this time with a brown top stripe.


Pryor 73969 "Grade Card" for an unidentified university.

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CARDS FOR PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES

Some card designs were intended to be used for specific programming languages.
The idea was that program statements for a language had a certain format, with the operation code in certain card columns and the operands in a different range of card columns.
But any card could be used for any purpose, and these programming language cards were often used as general purpose cards.


EAC/CDC/HPT 10491 program language card (Fortran, Cobol, or Assembly Language) for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


IBM 6509 System/360 assembly language card.


IBM D97462 "PL/I Statement" card for Craige Incorporated.


IBM C61897 "Cobol Source Program" card.


IBM 888157 "Fortran Statement" card.


IBM D78792 "Fortran Statement" card for the University of Florida.


IBM E31721 "Fortran Program Card" for the University of Virginia.


IBM E25579 "Waterloo Fortran IV (WATFIV) Job Card" for William & Mary.

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CARDS NOT MEANT TO BE PUNCHED

The punched card format was handy for other uses.
It was a good size and shape, and the card stock it was printed on was sturdy.
It would fit in a business-size mailing envelope, and of course it was ideal for any handwritten instructions that needed to be attached to the front of a deck of punched cards.


IBM E32365/6 credit disclosure card for Miller & Rhoads, a major department store in Richmond, Virginia.
Both sides are shown here.


BAC 4368 Form 23-1009 "BankAmericard Initial Disclosures" card.
Both sides are shown here.


41128 information card ("Notice 507 (12/78)" for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service.


IBM E36642 library card for Virginia Commonwealth University.
The card is perforated so that the left end can be torn off and carried in a wallet.


IBM E30347 book-pocket card for the VCU libraries.


IBM D88015 "Permit To Attend Class" card for Hampton Institute.


An "029 Hardware Failure Report" card for Virginia Tech.
Both sides are shown here.


Tape request card for an unidentified computing center.


IBM D85079 general purpose card for William & Mary (W&M), hand-stamped on the back to create a "Computer Center Special Job Request" card.


Another W&M "Computer Center Special Job Request" card, this time in blue.


This IBM E41285 "Operator Request Card" appears to be intended for handwritten instructions only.
But it does have two holes punched in column 1, in rows 7 and 9.
As far as I can tell, this is not a valid combination.


IBM Z25219 "Publications Order Receipt Card" for an unidentified business.


R79387 "Student Test Card" for Educational Development Corporation.
Both sides are shown here.
The card would be filled out by a student, using a pencil to fill in the appropriate ovals.
It was then read by a special machine that could detect the pencil marks.
The three black spots near the left edge of the front of the card are not punches; they are printed.


R72800/1/2 "WLC MS EXAM CARD" for an unidentified company or government agency.
Both sides are shown here.
The circles were to be filled in with a pencil.
Again, the three black spots are printed, not punched.


A mysterious orange card with three grey stripes.
This and the two following cards could have been used as general purpose cards, but the lack of column markings suggests that they were not intended to be used that way.


Blank card with no corner cut.


Blank card with square corners.

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MISCELLANEOUS AND ODD BALLS


IBM E24964 "Add or Change Payment History File" card for an unidentified company or government agency.


NEC/HP-20929 "Trade Ticket" card for an unidentified company or government agency.


IBM E25828 "Memo Blotter" card for an identified company or government agency.


NECC/HP-26145 "Journal Cash" card for an identified company or government agency.


IBM E24073 "Batch Header Card" for an identified computing center.


IBM E25953 "Name & Address" card for an identified company or government agency.


IBM E21181 "RISCA ARC Card".
This and the following two cards were clearly part of some statistics-based system.
But what is "RISCA"? It seems unlikely that it refers to the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.


IBM E21179 "RISCA Node Card (For Probablistic Nodes Only)".


IBM E21180 "RISCA Node Card (All Nodes Except Probablistic)".


R61596 "61 Code" card.
Both sides are shown here. (They appear to be identical.)
This appears to be intended to be marked with a pencil.
But the ovals are so small and so close to each other that it would have been very difficult to fill one out by hand.


EAC 866424X card with all holes punched; known as a "lace card".
Such a card would only have been created as a novelty or a practical joke.
In fact, it could jam or otherwise damage any card reader that attempted to read it.


MMM 5001 "Filmsort" card, used as a holder for the small rectangular piece of microfiche near the right end of the card.


A closeup look at the microfiche. (Click to enlarge.)


IBM 3700 card for the IBM System/3 computer.
This is a smaller card with 96 columns (three rows of 32 characters each).
It measures 3 1/4" wide by 2 5/8" high; so its width is the same as the height of a standard 80-column card.
The holes are circular and very small.


IBM 3700 card in red.


IBM 3700 card in blue.


IBM 3700 card in yellow.

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THE END

Last updated July 26, 2016 -