SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

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The Clerical Army: 1942

The Clerical Army: 1942

June 1942. Washington, D.C. "U.S. Office of Defense Transportation system of port control and its traffic channel control." More vintage punch-card equipment. Photo by Albert Freeman for the Office of War Information. View full size.

To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

1970s Vintage Computer Programmer Joke

Q: How do you bury a programmer?

A: Face down, 9-edge to the back.

This was towards the end of the punch-card era, when I was being trained on the IBM 360 Series.

Anyone else know EBCDIC?

Loading instructions

Face down 9 edge leading.

I ran the IBM

I ran all the IBM Unit Record Equipment in mobile vans in the Army in the mid 60's. It is a demanding job in the best of conditions in a nice heated building. The equipment was in four vans and included a van with keypunches, one with a 407 accounting machine, a sorter, collator and reproducer, another with a 609 calculator. With hardly room to turn around. Once or twice a year they would be moved to the field and hooked to generators. Of course nothing got done and it took weeks to catch back up, but it made the brass happy!

I can hear it now

the very distinctive sound of an IBM 83 card sorter jamming. It was something like a sicko pulling his fingernails across a blackboard just to annoy those nearby. Once a jammed sorter shut down the operator had the treat of collecting what always seemed like a zillion cards off the office floor, and also faced the challenge of trying to cipher the mutilated cards so they could be reproduced.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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