Punched Cards with Logos

Educational Institutions

Part of the Punched Card Collection
by Douglas W. Jones
THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA Department of Computer Science

Click on any image for a high-resolution version. All images were scanned at 600 dpi and edited to remove streaks caused by bad (or dust occluded) pixels in the scanner. Note that, prior to 1978, all material printed in the US without a copyright notice was automatically in the public domain; this also applies to most material printed before 1989 without a notice. Beware, however, that institutional logos are typically protected by trademark law and cannot be used in a manner that conflicts with the trademark owner's rights.

University of Alaska

 [University of Alaska punched card]

This card for the University of Alaska centers the university seal on a generic punched card. Unfortunately, the overprinting of the card row numbers over the seal obscures the details of the seal.

Atlanta Uiversity Center

 [Atlanta University Center punched card]

The Atlanta University Center is a group of historically black institutions, the names of which are all incorporated into the logo. They are Atlanta University, Clark College, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College, and Spellman College. Evidently, this consortium of relatively small intitutions operated a joint computing center.

In the early days of computing when machines were large and expensive, it was quite natural for small colleges to join together to run a computer center, but I am not aware of another example that had custom-printed punched cards.

University of British Columbia

 [University of British Columbia general data card]

The University of British Columbia computing centre (note the British spelling) incorporated the university's coat of arms rather modestly in the lower right. The motto at the top of the arms, Tuum Est (Latin for "it's yours") is not quite legible. The column numbering at the top of the card is helpful only for cards printed by an interpreter and not by a keypunch.

The card was printed by CDC.

University of Calgary

 [University of Calgary trace card]

The University of Calgary Department of Computer Services did a nice job with their university logo on this trace card, but then they got cute, setting their department name in a fake MICR font (possibly Westminster). The intended use of trace cards is unclear; perhaps they were used like job cards, although this card was punched ++EOF in an IBM 029 keypunch, suggesting it was used to mark an end of file within a card deck.

This card was a gift of Perry Devetzis, who collected it in the early 1980s when he was a student at Calgary.

Carnegie Institute of Technology

 [Carnegie Tech punched card]

This Job card from the mid 1960's contains a striking rendition of the classic Carnegie Tech seal, rendered in a somewhat faded halftone in the space reserved for comments. The great modernization hit at about the same time that Carnegie Tech became Carnegie-Mellon University, so as Tech became Mellon, the new generation of cards bore modernized artwork.

 [Carnegie Tech IPL V punched card]

This IPL V card matches the above job card. These cards were both used with the Bendix G 20 system that was, through the mid 1960's, the workhorse computer in the Carnegie Tech computing center.

Carnegie Mellon University

 [Carnegie Mellon University punched card]

When Carnegie Tech merged with the Mellon Institute to create Carnegie-Mellon University, the grand turn of the century Carnegie Seal was replaced with a very modern three-letter monogram. This monogram is presented here in a way that lends itself to a low-density halftone overprint over the numbering on the face of the card; fine detail does not lend itself nearly as well to such an overprint. These cards were used primarily with the Univac 1108 and for batch jobs on the IBM 360/67; the latter was one of the very few IBM 360 systems to run the TSS/360 timesharing operating system. Most customers who had ordered 360/67 systems running TSS/360 were eventually talked into accepting 360/65 systems running the inferior TSO operating system.

The card was printed by IBM.

University of Chicago

 [University of Chicago punched card]

The University of Chicago logo is surprisingly well presented on this card, despite the overprinting of punch positions. Most logos with this kind of fine-line detail get lost in such overprints. The card itself has field positions for the assembly language of the IBM 709x family of machines, and it contains, in the sequence number field (columns 72-80) a tabular presentation of the character code, making it a self-interpreting card.

Coe College

 [Coe College Fortran punched card]
 [Coe College 1130 cold start card]

Coe College, a small liberal arts college in Cedar Rapids, Iowa had these cards made with a layout for Fortran programs. Both were printed by IBM from the same plate. The artwork features the Coe College seal. On many cards, the grid of row numbers filling the face of the card either continue uinterrupted over the emblem, or they are cut out entirely to make room for the artwork. On these cards, the numbers in the vicinity of the artwork are halftoned, so they become a background element behind the artwork.

The first card was punched saying CHAD, to be read from the unprinted back of the card. This was done laboriously by overpunching (or multipunching, as it was called). To do this kind of "punched card art", a keypunch user would first draw the desired image or text on a spare card, then use that as a guide to show which rows in each column should be punched.

The second ard above is as interesting for what is punched on the card as for the card itself. In the days before read-only memory, loading the "bootstrap" code used to start a computer was a challenge. This is called a cold start, as opposed to a warm start, where the key parts of the operating system were already in memory. On many computers, the cold-start code was laboriously entered on toggle switches. On computers with punched-card readers, the cold-start program frequently consisted of a very small bootstrap program that would read the contents of one punched card into memory. The data from that card was a program (in raw binary format) to read the entire operating system into memory in a standard "objecct code" format, either from subsequent cards for from disk.

The IBM 1130, a 16-bit machie introduced in 1965, was IBM's least expensive computer, a natural machine for a small college.

These cards were printed by IBM.

Colorado State University

 [Colorado State University punched card]

The Colorado State University Computer Center did a nice job of clearing out the background of row numbers behind their modernized univeresity emblem.

Gesamthochschulbereich Dortmund (Dortmund University)

 [Dortmund University Job Card]
 [Dortmund University End]

The Hochschulrechenzentrum or HRZ (university computer center) of Gesamthochschulbereich Dortmund or GHD (Dortmund Technical University) used these cards in the late 1970s. The textual logo of the computer center is nicely constructed, with an unusual placement in the lower right of the card.

Each job submitted to the IBM 370 series mainframe would begin with a job card and end with an end card. These were pre-punched, so the user only had to add the information specific to their job.

Georgia State University

 [Georgia State University Library punched card]

The Georgia State University Library used punched cards stored in pockets glued to the inside of book covers to control library circulation. When a book was checkd out or returned, the librarian would put the card through a small desktop card reader to log the book in or out; the arrow on the card indicates which end of the card to put in the reader. On checkout, the librarian would also need to enter the borrower's identity by some other means. The printed warning "DO NOT REMOVE THIS CARD FROM THIS BOOK" directed at library patrons is bolder but offers less explanation than the notation on the Iowa State University Library card.

This card was punched to accompany the book Lhasa and its Mysteries: With a Record of the Expedition of 1903-1904 by L. A. Waddell (1904). The author and title is abbreviated WADDELL LHASA ITS MYSTER for punching on the card. The punching was done on a keypunch, as evidenced by the dot-matrix print perfectly aligned with the card columns. The notation 2DS 785.W2 punched at the left is neither a Dewey Decimal nor a Library of Congress catalog number.

University of Illinois

 [University of Illinois Computing Services Office card]
 [U. of Illinois Computing Services Office yellow card]

The University of Illinois Computing Services Office put their office emblem on these cards from the early 1970s without mentioning the larger institution. The emblem symbolizes sheets of fanfold computer printer paper as they look flowing from the printer into the output stack. If you look closely at the two cards, you can see that they were printed from different artwork. The fonts used and the positioning of the elements are slightly different.

These cards include a box at the top edge where a keypunch would print, and below that, boxes where an interpreter could print, in case cards were punched by a high-speed computer punch and then run through an interpreter. Column numbers are provided under each box, and the boxes are broken into fields that may be helpful for both Fortran and assembly language programmers.

The cream card has a plate number but no printer is identified. The goldenrod card card was printed by DD.

Iowa State University

 [Iowa State University punched card]
 [Iowa State University card with a blue stripe]
 [Iowa State University card with a yellow stripe]
 [Iowa State University card with a mauve stripe]  [Iowa State University card with a pink stripe]
 [Iowa State University card with a mauve stripe]

Most institutions were content to print either their name or their logo on a card, but some cards featured both. Iowa State is famous as the home of the Atasanoff-Berry Computer, the first vacuum-tube digital calculator. It is strange that they were willing to sacrifice the numbering of the 9's row on the card, yet were unwilling to clear the clutter from their institutional seal.

The card with the blue stripe is unusual for the width of the stripe, double the width that was usual, possibly because of an improperly adjusted striping roller in the card printing press.

There are two groups of cards here having the same design but printed from different plates. In each group, cards were also printed with different color stripes. The first group has plate number DD-ZN 12945 while the second group has plate number DD-N 12945. These cards were all printed by DD.

 [Iowa State University Library punched card]

The Iowa State University Library opted to fill their card with a picture of their building. It is evident from the notation along the top edge of the card and the instructions on the right that cards of this sort were punched with identifying information for each book and used to check books in and out. While this card pictures a modern addition to the library, the facade of a newer addition now dominates the library.

The Georgia State University Library used similar punched cards to identify their books.

This card was printed by DD.

University of Kansas

 [Kansas University punched card]

This University of Kansas card features the University's Jayhawk athletic mascot. Unfortunately, the halftone is very faint. Like many other cards, this one would have been better looking if the background of row numbers had been edited out of the area occupied by the mascot.

Kansas State University

 [Kansas State University punched card]

The Kansas State University computing center has a very clean design incorporating the university seal into a card along with their name.

The three different plate numbers at the bottom are a bit of a mystery. Perhaps OEI S13231 is the actual plate number, while WIC-140 and DDK-18857 are inventory control numbers?

University of Maryland

 [University of Maryland punched card]
 [University of Maryland punched card with bottom stripe]

Most cards with institutional logos on them are based on symmetrical designs, with the logo centered on the card. A few institutions such as Maryland opted to make a statement with an assymetrical design. These two cards from the Computer Science Center look like they might have been printed from the same plate, but they were not, one has an IBM plate number, the other has a PRYOR one. The card from IBM is unusual both for having a stripe along the bottom and for having a double stripe.

 [University of Maryland job card]

This job card from the Computer Science Center is unusual in that it comes pre-punched, serial numbered, and with a stub that the user can keep as a receipt in order to reclaim their job after it is run. The graphic design of the card, particularly the position of the university seal and the bottom stripe, suggests that it is contemporaneous with the program cards shown above. The CSC had a Univac 1108 in the 1960s and early 1970s. This job card would have been for that system, judging by the notation 1100/80 on the card.

 [University of Maryland MPSE FORTRAN card]

The Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering or MPSE division of the University of Maryland had its own cards printed. This card, with column markings for FORTRAN code, puts the corner cut on the left and the logo on the right (away from most of the code programmers might punch on the card). As with the second card above, it is striped on the bottom edge.

McMaster University

 [McMaster University Punched Card]

McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario used off-center design that leaves columns 1 to 72 uncluttered; this conforms to the FORTRAN convention that columns 73-80 are not used in program decks, so the logo artwork does not distract from the interpretation of FORTRAN code. At the same time, the card is divided into 16 fields of 5 characters each, a convenient organization for tabular data.

Michigan Tech

 [Michigan Tech Punched Card]

Universities frequently put their football mascot on their punched cards. The Michigan Tech huskie is a well designed example of such a card, although the fine detail in the huskie's fur would have looked better if they'd cut out the numbers from the area where the logo is printed.

This card was printed by IBM.

University of Mississippi

 [University of Mississippi card]

This card from the University of Missippi Computer Center is pleasantly designed, but the grey halftone used for the text sinks into near invisibility. The design is saved by the bold university logo that stands out through the grillwork of numbers that overprint it.

This card was printed by IBM.


 [MIT classical punched card]
 [MIT modernized punched card]

These two cards provide a striking illustration of the great modernization of institutional artwork that occured during the 1960s and early 1970s. of the redesign of MIT's university seal, an effort that was part of the great modernization of american corporate logos in the late 1960's. These card designs would have been improved if the row numbers had been omitted under the university emblems. The problem is particularly bad on the first card with its classical MIT seal because the details of the seal are on the same scale as the numbering. The modernized emblem on the secnd card works better because of the bold line work.

The imagery in both the classical and new MIT logos pictures learning and labor, back to back as if they could never communicate. The University of Illinois emblem also features learning and labor, face to face, being united by the female form of Alma Mater. Unfortunately, that does not appear to have made its way onto a punched card.

The older card was printed by IBM, the newer by JTC.

Naval Postgraduate School

The U.S. Navy offers masters and doctoral programs as well as postdoc research opportunities through the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

 [Naval Postgrad School plain punched card]

This general purpose punched card presents an emblem for the school very cleanly, off center to the right where it is less likely to be defaced by punching.

 [Naval Postgrad School pink punched card]

Curiously, this card uses a completely different emblem, and the layout is muddy, with row numbers overprinting the emblem.

This card was printed by IBM.

University of New South Wales

 [University of New South Wales punched card]

The University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia is a major research university with longstanding strength in engineering and computer science. This card is unusual for several reasons: The university emblem is sideways on the card (but upright if someone is carrying a small card deck in their shirt pocket). Although it is a job and user card for the University's CDC Cyber computer, there are no instructions on the card for the layout of either card. Instead, the column divisions shown along the top of the card relate to FORTRAN (solid lines) and assembly language (the leftmost two dotted lines).

This card was printed by IBM Australia.

Princeton University

 [Princeton University punched card]
 [Princeton University punched card]

These general purpose card tastefully displays the University name and heraldic emblem. The differences between them are typical of what you might get when trying to order identical cards from different vendors.

 [Princeton University job card]

This job card from Princeton works the university name and emblem into an otherwise standard IBM OS/360 job card.

The card was printed by JTC.

 [Princeton University batch job card]

This job card from Princeton does carry the university name and emblem, but the card is dominated by tutorial content explaining how to use the card as a batch processor job card for 10 different programming environments. This card was printed on bleached cardstock, making it far whiter than most cards printed on stock that was merely nominally white. The choice of blue ink was also unusual. The card must be from the 1970s, because PL/C was released by Cornell University in 1970.

The card was printed by JTC.

Saint Peters College

 [Saint Peters College Punched Card]

This card from the Saint Peters College Computing Center features the college's emblem, all but completely obscured by the overprinting of a very busy background of field dividers along with row and column numbers. This Jesuit school became St. Peters University in 2012.

This card was printed by JTC.

South Australian Institute of Technology

 [South Australia Institute of Technology cover card]

The South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Adelaide merged into the University of South Australia in 1991. This is a cover card, intnded not to be punched, but to hold handwritten notes about a deck of cards between the user and the computer operator. The logo featured prominently on this card is somewhat puzzling, with a clear IT but where is South Australia? Perhaps the circle represents Australia and the shaded portion is the south?

Stockholms Datamaskincentral (computer center)

Stockholm University, the Royal Institute of Technology, and the Swedish Defense Research Authority jointly operated a computer center, the Stockholms Datamaskincentral. This was one of the largest computer complexes in the country between the 1960s and 1980s.

At first, the computer center used the natural initials, SD, as a logo, but this was in conflict with trademarks owned by Stockholms Datajänst. To resolve this, the computer center ended up using the meaningless initials QZ as its logo.

 [Stockholm QZ 8-field punched card]

This general purpose punched card appears to have been used with the CDC 6400; if this is correct, this card dates from betwee 1966 and 1976, the approximate market lifetime of that machine.

 [Stockholm QZ punched card]

This general purpose card has a much uglier design and appears to date from the era when an IBM 360 or 370 machine was in use.

This card was printed by IBM Sweden.

 [Stockholm job card]

This job card has no hint of what computer it is designed for, but the material punched on it is in the format expected by IBM's OS/360 or OS/370.

This card was printed by IBM Sweden.

 [Stockholm low priority card]

This card was intended to be used to indicate that job should run at low priority. The color allows a computer operator to notice. The card is punched with /*PRIORITY -. The leading /* makes this an IBM JCL delimiter card, which, in turn, makes the text PRIORITY - a comment. This suggests that the card was intended to be included in a user's card deck entirely to signal the computer's human operators that the job should be set diverted into a low priority job stream.

This card and the job card shown above are printed on similar stripe-textured cardstock in equally garish colors. This strongly links the job card to the low-priority card. These are the only two cards in this collection printed on such paper.

This card was printed by IBM Sweden.

Technion University

 [Technion punched card]

Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, in Haifa, has a long history of distinguished work in engineering and computer science. The university logo on this card is unusually small. The marginal notation on the lower left indicates that this card was printed by IBM Israel.

University of Virginia

 [University of Virginia punched card]

This University of Virginia FORTRAN program card features the university seal, all but hidden behind the grid of row numbers.

 [University of Virginia job card]

In contrast, the university seal stands out boldly on this CDC 6600 job card.

This card was printed by IBM.

 [University of Virginia blue binary card]
 [University of Virginia salmon binary card]

These two cards, printed different color stock, were intended for column binary data. The basic design of the cards is the same as the job card above. Column binary data could contain code combinations that could not be duplicated on an IBM 027 or 029 keypunch without damage to the printing mechansim. You can tell that the cards were printed from the same printing plate; not only is the plate number on the bottom margin the same, but the damage to the plate number also matches.

Wartburg College

 [Wartburg College punched card]

Wartburg College is a small Lutheran college in Waverly Iowa. Small, but big enough to have been teaching computer science in the punched card era. This card incorporates a nice University emblem, but it is almost obscured by the row numbers printed across it.

University of Washington

 [University of Washington punched card]

This general purpose card integrates the heraldic shield of the university and the computer center logo cleanly into the card. The division of the card into 4-column fields could equally help people organize data on the card or help programmers who use 4 or 8 column indenting to help readers understand the structure of their code.

Washington University of Saint Louis

 [Washington University of St. Louis punched card]
 [Washington University of St. Louis punched card]

This general purpose card integrates the heraldic shield of the university into the card very cleanly. Note that the two examples were printed from different printing plates by different printers.

The first card was printed from a damaged plate. The notation in the left margin, starting OEI (identifying the printer), is followed by the obliterated remains of the plate number.

The notation DD-L 12024-R1 in very small print below columns 16 to 21 of the card indicates that this card was printed by DD.

Washington State University

 [Washington State University punched card]

This rather busy looking card for Washington State University comes off surprisingly well despite the overeprinting of row and column numbers on the university's monogram. The WSU monogram's overall shape, that of a snarling cougar head, comes through, alghough the fine lines dividing the letters are all but lost.

The ruler across the top of the card shows column numbers for two different interpreters that had just slightly different character spacing in their printers. The repetition of the column numbers in the body of the card is definitely excessive, since the vertical rules every 5 columns make it easy to find the column numbers at the bottom.