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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.


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.

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