Herman Hollerith

American statistician and inventor

Herman Hollerith (February 29, 1860 – November 17, 1929) was an American statistician and inventor. He developed a mechanical tabulator based on punched cards. This tabulated (put into tables) the data from millions of people. He was the founder of the Tabulating Machine Company that later became IBM.

Herman Hollerith
Herman Hollerith in 1888
Born(1860-02-29)February 29, 1860
DiedNovember 17, 1929(1929-11-17) (aged 69)
OccupationStatistician, inventor, businessman
AwardsElliott Cresson Medal (1890)
World's Columbian Exposition, Bronze Medal (1892)
National Inventors Hall of Fame (1990)
Medaille d'Or, Exposition Universelle de 1889
Hollerith punched card
Hollerith card puncher used by the United States Census Bureau

Hollerith is known as the father of modern machine data processing.[1] The start of automatic data processing systems came with his invention. Programs and data were put in to computer by punched cards in the 1950s and 60s.[2]

Hollerith began working for the United States Census Bureau in the year he filed his first patent application. Titled "Art of Compiling Statistics", it was filed on September 23, 1884; U.S. Patent 395,782 was granted on January 8, 1889.[3]

Hollerith built machines under contract for the Census Office, which used them to tabulate the 1890 United States Census in only one year.[4] The previous 1880 United States Census had taken eight years.

Hollerith started his Tabulating Machine Company in 1896. Major census bureaus around the world leased his equipment and purchased his cards, as did major insurance companies. Hollerith's machines were used for censuses in England, Italy, Germany, Russia, Austria, Canada, France, Norway, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Philippines, and again in the 1900 United States Census .[2] To make his system work, he invented the first automatic card-feed mechanism and the first keypunch (that is, a punch operated by a keyboard); a skilled operator could punch 200–300 cards per hour. He also invented a tabulator.

References Edit

  1. "Herman Hollerith (1860-1929)". Archived from the original on 2016-10-27. Retrieved 2014-09-19.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Da Cruz, Frank 2011. Herman Hollerith. [1] Columbia University.
  3. Search "Hollerith" at this IEEE site: [2] Archived 2009-07-05 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Hollerith's Electric Sorting and Tabulating Machine, ca. 1895 from the American Memory archives of the Library of Congress