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 YEAR: April 1889
 PUBLISHER: School of Mines, Columbia University
 Volume: 10  Number: 03

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An Electric Tabulating System; Author's Edition

A view of the vintage An Electric Tabulating System; Author's Edition an important part of computer history
No less an authority than Columiba University points out that Herman Hollerith is "widely regarded as the father of modern automatic computation." (it's probably worth noting that Hollerith was a graduate of Columbia so they might not be entirely objective.) Without a doubt, Hollerith's Electric Tabulating system brought about a sea-change in the way information was handled.

The first article that Hollerith wrote describing his invention was published in April 1889. We are fortunate enough to have the Author's Edition of that publication...a reprint that we believe belonged to Herman Hollerith. In this article, he describes how his Tabulating System was being used in the 1890 U.S. census.

The handwriting on cover may be that of Herman Hollerith. It says, "Electrotypes sent to the Franklin Institute. Feb. 10, 1890" and refers to drawings sent to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia that would shortly appear as illustrations in the Franklin Institute's Journal.

Herman Hollerith's doctorate and dissertation

Dr. Hollerith was awarded his doctorate from Columbia University in 1890. However, it seems that Herman Hollerith did not attend classes in the doctoral program and he did not write a dissertation. This has led some to claim that his doctorate was honorary. As best as we can tell, his doctorate was not honorary. Columbia University makes the following claim.

"The Minutes of the Faculty of the School of Mines, 3 April 1890, state (regarding Hollerith's lack of prior matriculation in the doctoral program): "Resolved, that the Board of Trustees be respectfully requested to waive this requirement in the case of Mr. Hollerith, and to grant him the degree of Doctor of Philosophy upon the work which he has performed" and by the subsequent Trustees resolution of 7 April 1890, granting him the degree."[1]
Hollerith's dissertation was entitled, In Connection With The Electric Tabulation System Which Has Been Adopted By U.S. Government For The Work Of The Census Bureau.

There are unsubstantiated claims that Hollerith's dissertation was the article shown here. Some believe that he submitted a copy of this article, which had been previously printed in the Columbia University School of Mines Quarterly, and the faculty counted it as his dissertation. It does make some sense as his dissertation, according to the title, was obviously written after the Electric Tabulating System was adopted by the Census Bureau. We are still investigating this possibility.

[1] Columbia University website

Related Items
      Related Item 1: Different Methods of Tabulating Census Data
      Related Item 2: Electric Tabulating System Salesman's Model

Viewer Stories & Comments
   Curator     West Chester, USA     February 14, 2015

       Hi Bob...at some the list on the right is not intended to be navigable. Use the "searchYEARS" link at the top of the page to choose a computer from a particular decade (ranging from the 1830's to the 1980's). After we get more of our collection online, we will start to make the list at the right navigable.

   Bob     Milwaukee, USA     January 11, 2014

       Your website is not navigatable. The Computer Collection list on the right side is unclickable. No way to get to anything on the site. Is it down?

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Click on any of the images below to see the slideshow. Front cover of the author's edition of the <i>Electric Tabulating System</i> page 1 of the author's edition of the <i>Electric Tabulating System</i> An image of an early Hollerith punch card as shown in the author's edition of the <i>Electric Tabulating System</i> The Tabulator section of system as shown in the author's edition of the <i>Electric Tabulating System</i> A drawing of he entire System with the tabulator, card reader & sorter as shown in the author's edition of the <i>Electric Tabulating System</i> Another view of just the card reader (left) & a closed sorting box on right as shown in the author's edition of the <i>Electric Tabulating  System</i>.  The tabulator, with its iconic clocklike counters, is not shown. A closeup view of the card reader on its own table as shown in the author's edition of the <i>Electric Tabulating System</i> A schematic drawing of the card reader as shown in the author's edition of the <i>Electric Tabulating System</i>.  Pulling down on the handle would allow the pins to drop through any holes in the card.  The   drawing on the left shows a pin dropping. Last page of the article as shown in the author's edition of the <i>Electric Tabulating System</i>
(Analogs in blue)
  1. AIM-65 (single board)
  2. AIM-65 (factory case)
  3. AIM-65 (Jon Titus)
  4. ALICE micro-ordinateur
  5. Altair 680
  6. Altair 8800
  7. Altair 8800A
  8. Altair 8800b
  9. Altair 8800b Turnkey (see Pertec below)
  10. Altair 8800b (see Pertec below)
  11. Altair 8800b w/ Hardisk Controller & Datakeeper
  12. Altos ACS-8000
  13. American Basic Science Club Analog Computer
  14. AMF Educational Computer
  15. Apple II Plus
  16. ASCI SystemX
  17. ASR 33 Teletype
  18. Automatic Teaching Computer Kit
  19. Beckman ElectroComp Electric Heating Computer
  20. Beckman ElectroComp Energy Savings Computer
  21. Beckman Solid State Fuel Cost Computer
  22. Brainiac K-30
  23. Calif. Computer Systems 2200
  24. CES Ed-Lab 650
  25. Commodore 8032
  26. Commodore 64
  27. Commodore PET 2001
  28. Commodore Super Pet
  29. Compucolor II
  30. Compukit 1
  31. Compukit 1 Deluxe Model
  32. Compukit 2
  33. Compukit UK101
  34. Comspace CT-650
  35. Cosmac Elf (RCA1802)
  36. Cosmac Microtutor
  37. Cosmac Netronics ELF II
  38. Cosmac VIP
  39. Cromemco System I
  40. Cromemco System III
  41. Cromemco Z-2D
  42. Datapoint 2200
  43. Digi-Comp I (flat box)
  44. Digi-Comp I (square box)
  45. Digital Computer Lab
  46. Donner 3500
  47. Durango F-85
  48. Dynabyte
  49. E & L Inst MMD-1
  50. E & L Inst MMD-2
  51. Eagle II
  52. Electric Tabulating Machine (one original counter, 1889)
  53. Electronic Associates TR-10
  54. Electronic Associates TR-10 Model II
  55. Electronic Associates TR-20
  56. Electronic Associates TR-48
  57. Electronic Associates Model 180
  58. Electronic Associates Model 380 Hybrid
  59. Geniac
  60. Google Glass (definitely not vintage)
  61. Heath EC-1 (factory assembled by Heath)
  62. Heathkit EC-1 (kit)
  63. Heathkit ET 3100 trainer
  64. Heathkit H8
  65. Heathkit H9 Video Terminal
  66. Hickok Logic Teaching Sys.
  67. Hickok Servo Teaching Sys.
  68. HP 2115A
  69. HP 85
  70. HP 5036A
  71. HP 9825A
  72. HP 9825B
  73. HP 9830A
  74. Iasis 7301
  75. I-COR MAC-1
  76. ICS Microcomputer Training System
  77. IMSAI 108 (prototype)
  78. IMSAI 8048 Control Computer
  79. IMSAI 8048 (The Dollhouse Computer)
  80. IMSAI 8080
  81. IMSAI PCS-40
  82. IMSAI PCS-80
  83. IMSAI VDP-80
  84. Informer
  85. Intel Intellec MDS
  86. Intel MDS-800
  87. Intel Prompt 48
  88. Intel SBC 80/10
  89. Intel SDK-85
  90. Intel SDK-85 (unassembled)
  91. Intel SDK-86
  92. Intertec Superbrain
  93. ITT MP-EX
  94. JR-01 Computer
  95. KIM-1
  96. LAN-DEC
  97. LAN-DEC 20
  98. LAN-ALOG
  99. Lehrcomputer (Germany)
  100. Lawrence Livermore Lab
  101. Lear Siegler ADM3A
  102. Logikit LK255 (Feedback)
  103. Logix SF-5000 Electronic Computer
  104. MAC-1 Mini Analog Computer
  105. MAC Tutor (Bell Laboratories)
  106. MEK6800D2
  107. Micro 68
  108. Microtan 65
  109. Midwest Scientific Instruments 6800
  110. Minivac 601
  111. Minivac 6010
  112. Mini-Scamp Microcomputer
  113. Nascom I
  114. Nascom II
  115. National Radio Institute 832
  116. NEC TK-80
  117. NorthStar Horizon
  118. Olivetti Programma 101
  119. Olivetti Programma 203
  120. Olivetti Programma 602
  121. Open University PT501
  122. Ordinateur d'Apprentissage JR-01
  123. Osborne 1
  124. OSI 300
  125. OSI 600 (SuperBoard II)
  126. OSI C2-OEM-4
  127. OSI Challenger-1P
  128. Pastoriza Personal Analogue Computer
  129. Pertec MITS 300/25 (Altair desk business system)
  130. Pertec MITS 300/55 (Altair Turnkey business system)
  131. PolyMorphic Systems 8810
  132. PolyMorphic Poly-88
  133. Protech-83
  134. Range Keeper Mk.6 Mechanical Analog Computer, 1926
  135. Range Keeper Mk.7 Mechanical Analog Computer, 1935?
  136. Sargent-Welch Scientific Company Cat. No.7528 Analog Computer
  137. Science of Cambridge MK-14 (Sinclair)
  138. SD Systems Z80 starter kit
  139. Sharp MZ-40K
  140. Sharp MZ-80k
  141. Siemens ECB-85
  142. Signetics Instructor 50
  143. Sinclair ZX-81
  144. Smoke Signal Broadcasting
  145. Sol-20
  146. Spark16
  147. Sphere 1
  148. Sphere/SWTPC Computer System
  149. SWTP CMOS Microlab
  150. SWTP CT-82 Terminal
  151. SWTPC 6800
  152. SWTPC 6800 (w/ Smoke Signal Broadcasting drive)
  153. SWTPC CT-64 Video Terminal, SS-50
  154. SWTPC TV Typewriter II CT-1024
  155. Synertek VIM-1
  156. Synertek SYM-1
  157. Systron-Donner 3500
  158. Tei MCS-112
  159. Tektronix 4006-1
  160. Telefunken RAT 700
  161. TI LCM-1001 (Microprogrammer)
  162. TI LCM-1001 (Microprogrammer)
  163. TI Silent 700 Terminal
  164. TI TM 990/189
  165. Vector 1
  166. Vector 3
  167. Vidac 336
  168. Wang 2200
  169. Welch Scientific Company Cat. No.7528 Analog Computer
  170. Xerox 820 Mark I
  1. Chameleon Plus
  2. Commodore SX64
  3. Epson HX-20
  4. Kaypro I
  5. Kaypro II
  6. Kaypro 2x
  7. Kaypro 16
  8. Osborne 1
  9. Panasonic Senior Partner
  10. Visual Commuter
  1. Babbage's Calculating Engine (1834)
  2. Electric Tabulating Machine (1889, Herman Hollerith's personal copy)
  3. The Hollerith Electric Tabulating System (1890)
  4. Counting a Nation by Electricity (1891)
  5. Calculating Machines (1947)
  6. Moore School Lectures Vol. II (1947)
  7. Mathematical Theory of Communication (1948)
  8. Communication Theory of Secrecy Systems (1949)
  9. The "Moore's Law" article (Electronics, 1965)
  10. Printout from Babbage's Difference Engine #2 (London Science Museum, 2004)