Hollerith machine

Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum2006

Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum

Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum
Paderborn, Germany

This machine is a functioning replica of the first Hollerith machine that was used so successfully to complete the first census in the USA thanks to the use of punched cards. It provided a much faster way of counting the vast amount of data gathered. The Hollerith machine consists of two hinged plates, a switch panel with relays, a counting device with 40 counters and a sorting box. When one of the pins on the plates meets a hole in the punched card, a circuit is completed and an electric pulse causes the pointer of a counter to advance accordingly. The respective compartment of the sorting box is also opened, and the operator can place the analysed punched card into it by hand. Photo: Jan Braun, HNF


  • Title: Hollerith machine
  • Creator: Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum
  • Date: 2006
  • Location: Paderborn

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