Punched card

paper-based recording medium

A punched card is a storage medium. It contains information in the form of holes, that are at precise locations on the card. In the 19th century, punched cards were widely used to control machines, such as looms and for census. Fairground organs and related instruments still use punched cards, as do some voting machines.

An 80-column punched card of the type most widely used in the 20th century. Card size was ​7 38 in × ​3 14 in (187.325 mm × 82.55 mm). This example displays the 1964 EBCDIC character set, which added more special characters to earlier encodings.

Herman Hollerith invented the recording of data on a medium that could then be read by a machine.