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The Way to the First Automatic Sequence-Controlled Calculator: The 1935 DEHOMAG D 11 Tabulator

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129879D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Jun-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 22 page(s) / 79K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

FRIEDRICH W. KISTERMANN: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

This article was written with the intention of throwing some light upon the development of the Hollerith Electric Tabulating System, which ultimately resulted in me first automatic sequence-controlled printing calculator, the DEHOMAG D 11 tabulator. The story of this particular machine is important in the general history of tabulating equipment, yet it has not been told before. Although this article is based upon a larger technical report, of which other parts are intended for later publication, it cannot be said to be the last word on this machine. Basic material about the device continues to be collected, and every item leads to further insights.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1995 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

The Way to the First Automatic Sequence-Controlled Calculator: The 1935 DEHOMAG D 11 Tabulator

FRIEDRICH W. KISTERMANN

This article was written with the intention of throwing some light upon the development of the Hollerith Electric Tabulating System, which ultimately resulted in me first automatic sequence- controlled printing calculator, the DEHOMAG D 11 tabulator. The story of this particular machine is important in the general history of tabulating equipment, yet it has not been told before. Although this article is based upon a larger technical report, of which other parts are intended for later publication, it cannot be said to be the last word on this machine. Basic material about the device continues to be collected, and every item leads to further insights.

The Hollerith punched-card system was invented with a specific customer's application in mind. Even after the company had developed applications for customers other than the US Bureau of Census, the customers and their demands for help with the ever-growing need for data processing were always the driving force behind new developments. Hollerith and the Tabulating Machine Company were always in the forefront of fulfilling their customers' requirements.

Punched-card systems were one means to master the control crisis, and it was these systems that became the basis for the early phases of the control revolution.1,2 The first handbook about the Hollerith punched- card system, Robert Feindler's 400-page The Hollerith Punched-Card System for Machine Bookkeeping and Statistics,3 was printed in 1929. The long-lasting importance of these systems can be seen in the publication dates of books intended to instruct readers in the use of the machines -- the Hartkemeier45 books, in particular, published between 1942 and 1966. Even in 1973 a subsidiary of IBM, Science Research Associates in Chicago, considered it worthwhile to publish Cadow's Punched-Card Data Processing.6

In only a few cases have punched-card systems been one of the major subjects in historical books,7,8 but there has been an increasing number of related papers published in the last few years.9-13 However, there is still a lot of room for further research; some of it could be based on the references in Cortada's enormous bibliographical worker.14

The Hollerith Electric Tabulating System

Starting in the autumn of 1879, Herman Hollerith worked as an assistant to one of his teachers, Professor Trowbridge, on the evaluation of the 1880 US Census data. The US government had demanded more and more data from the decennial censuses, mainly because the population had grown through immigration from Europe, and, as a result, commerce and industry had expanded rapidly. Everyone connected with the census work expected enormous problems to emer...