Punched Cards with Logos

Industrial, Government and Research 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.

American National Bank

 [American National Bank punched card]

This card for the American National Bank of Cheyenne Wyoming is a nice example of corporate artwork that almost works with the punched card overprint but not quite. The problem is, the fine detail in the eagle logo is almost completely lost, so that the eagle becomes nothing but a grey trapezoid.

Babcock & Wilcox

 [Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Generation punched card]

Babcock and Wilcox, founded in 1867, has been making steam boilers ever since. They are a major supplier for large power plants. The company was a contractor to the Manhattan Project, and in the 1950s, it made components for both nuclear-powered ships and commercial nuclear power plants. This card, from the company's Nuclear Power Generation division, features the old B&W corporate logo, a globe of the earth with the initials B&W on a belt around it and steam jets spinning the globe. This sits at the center of a Bohr atom, a common symbol of all things atomic. The card would have been more impressive if the logo had been moved to the foreground instead of hidden behind the grid of row numbers.

Battelle Laboratories

 [Battelle Columbus Laboratories punched card]

Battelle Columbus Laboratories is the oldest operation of the Battelle Memorial Foundation, dating back to the 1920s. Battelle originally focused on materials research, but has broadly diversified since World War II. This card features the modern Battelle logo, a logo so bold that it completely dominates the background that was not altered to make room for the logo.

Bell Telephone Laboratories

 [Bell Labs blue punched card made by JTC]
 [Bell Labs gold punched card made by JTC]
 [Bell Labs gold punched card made by IBM]

These cards, probably designed in July 1957 (judging by the notation "7-57" printed on the left edge), were designed for the Military Manufacturing Information Department of Bell Labs. Curiously, while the cards appear to be designed to the same specification (E-7583-E in the right margin), the artwork on the IBM version of thee card (plate number 417110) on the lower right) is much simpler, with no text on the Bell logo. The two cards from JTC (plate number or possibly date 1967 on the bottom edge) look like they were printed from the same plate, although on different colors of stock.) Closer examination, though, shows that the two JTC cards were probably printed from different plates made from the same original artwork.

 [Bell Labs punched card]
 [Bell Labs punched card]

These cards, probably designed in October 1965 (judging by the notation "10-65" printed on the left edge), were printed for use with the GE 600 series computers at Bell Labs, and the layout gives the assembly language format for that family. Both cards are printed from the same artwork but with different colors of ink used on the roller that printed the stripe..

The version of the Bell logo on this card predates the great modernization of american corporate logos in the late 1960's; although it is a bit streamlined compared to earlier versions of the Bell logo used on the first cards above.

 [Bell Labs punched card]

This card is identical in design to the ones above and also dated 10-65, but with columns arranged for FORTRAN code instead of assembly code.

 [Bell Labs punched card]
 [Bell Labs punched card]  [Bell Labs punched card]
 [Bell Labs punched card]  [Bell Labs punched card]

Another card design from 10-65 for the GE 600 computer system. This card was printed in numerous colors. The pink, green and gold cards were almost certainly printed from the same plate, judging by damage to the 0 in column 8 and 9 in column 20, and all were certainly printed from thee same original artwwork.

 [Bell Labs punched card]
 [Bell Labs punched card]

These cards, probably designed in December 1971 (judging by the notation "12-71" printed on the left edge), were printed for use with the same computers, and serve to illustrate the new modernized Bell System logo. The Bell Labs stock number E-8451 on the left edge is identical to the number on the cards above, so the only reason for the revision to the artwork is to incorporate the modernized logo.

The white card is printed on bleached white cardstock, quite a bit whiter than the unbleached stock commonly used. The damage to the 3 in column 2 of both cards strongly suggests that they were printed from the same printing plate.

Brown Boveri

 [Brown Boveri Job Card, side a]
 [Brown Boveri Job Card, side b]

Brown Boveri & Cie began as a Swiss company in 1891, building heavy electrical equipment such as motors, generators and electric locomotives. It quickly grew into a major multinational corporation.

This card predates the 1988 merger with ASEA. The card is unusual in that it is printed on both sides. Side A is an OS-360 style job card, while side B offers formats for two different IBM JCL statements, the EXEC (execute) statement and the DD (data definition) statement. The card is also interesting becausee of its mix of English and German.

The card has been punched on side A, but without regard to the format suggested by the card.

Burlington Northern Railway

 [Burlington Northern Railroad Card]

The Burlington Northern began operation in 1970, when use of punched-cards was the expected tool for data processing. The Burlington-Northern logo on this card is an excellent example of a modernized corporate logo from the that era, although one of its predecessors, the Chicago-Burlington and Quincy Railroad, had used a modern style of logo for most of the past century. Today, the modern logo of the BNSF railroad is something of a retro design, harking back to the old Santa-Fe railroad logo.

Burroughs Corporation

 [Burroughs/Gardner-Denver punched card]

Burroughs certainly used Gardner-Denver semi-automatic wire-wrap machines to build their own mainframes of the late 1960's, and they probably sold wire-wrap systems, either software or software plus controller plus machine, to others. This card was either for internal use or was sold as part of a package to those who bought Gardner-Denver machines with Burroughs controllers or support software. In any case, the big B burroughs logo is prominently displayed.

CERN

 [CERN punched card]

CERN originally stood for le Centre Européenne pour la Recherche Nucléaire, or the European Center for Nuclear Research. The CERN laboratory spans the Swiss-French border just east of Geneva Switzerland; the logo is based on the plan view of the proton synchroton that was the laboratory's original research tool. CERN has long been a major user of computers and supercomputers, and Tim Breners-Lee was on the staff at CERN when he developed the World Wide Web. This card is printed with minimal layout aids for the formatting of FORTRAN programs, plus extra guidelines every ten columns suggesting a generic tabular data layout. The pattern punched on this particular card, a 6-7-8-9 multipunch in column 1, was used as an end-of-file-mark under the operating systems for the CDC 6600.

Chesapeake and Ohio Railway

 [Chesapeake and Ohio Railway punched card]

This card is from the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway at a time when that railroad was partnering with the Baltimore and Ohio Railway but not yet fully merged with it. This dates the card from between 1962 when the C&O acquired a controlling interest in the B&O and the creation of the Chessie System in 1972. The logos of the two railroads are smaller than the available space allows, even considering the fact that the card has 6 distinct but related data formats outlined on it, most relating to tracking railroad cars.

Collins Radio Company

 [Collins Radio Company punched card]

Collins Radio Company, of Cedar Rapids Iowa, has been a major defense contractor since World War II. Prior to the 1970's, it was also a major manufacturer of equipment for the amature or ham radio market. In the early 1970's, it became the Collins Avionics Group of divisions of Rockwell International, and in the early 2000's, it was spun off as Rockwell Collins Corporation. This card carries the classical Collins logo, a nice example of an early modern corporate logo that integrates very well with the standard printing on the face of the card.

Compagnie Interntionale pour l'Informatique

 [Compagnie Internationale pour l'Informatique card]

The Compagnie Internationale pour l'Informatique or CII was a French company created in 1966 to try to break IBM's near monopoly on computing in France. The company merged with Honeywell-Bull in 1976. Aside from being printed in France and entirely in French, this is largely a typical FORTRAN card. The field divisions at columns 16, 27, 37 and 53 are unusual and may relate to some secondary use of this card, perhaps the assembly lanugage of some computer CII sold.

United States Department of Defense

 [Department of Defense Aperture Card]

This card is an aperture card, with a window in it designed to hold a piece of microfilm. In this case, the card has a very clean, albeit small, presentation of the emblem of the United States Department of Defense.

Dubna Nuclear Research Instutite

 [Dubna Nuclear Research Institute punched card]

This card from the latter years of the Soviet Union is imprinted with the logo of the nuclear research institute at Dubna, a suburb of Moscow. The logo is based on the building housing one of the institute's particle accelerators, surrounded by the stylized electron orbits of the Bohr atom, a common symbol for atomic research. The calendar printed on this card makes it clear that the card was distributed as a souvenier; distributing souvenier punched cards was a common way of advertising that an institute was on the cutting edge of high technology; this remained true even when cards had become nearly obsolete because of the strong association in the public mind between cards, computers and modernity.

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

 [Fermilab ISS activity punched card]

The Fermi National Accelerator Lab outside of Chicago, known as Fermilab, was founded in 1969 and renamed after Enrico Fermi in 1974, so this card dates from after then. ISS is unlikely to refer to the International Space Station, because this card is obviously some kind of inventory management form.

The Fermilab logo in the upper right depicts an end view of a quadrapole beam focusing magnet. The bent lines are the magnet armature, while the horizontal lines binding the top and bottom of the logo are the magnet windings.

General Dynamics

 [General Dynamics data originating punched card]

This card, dated NOV 61 on the bottom edge, has a General Dynamics corporate logo hiding in the cluttered right margin of the card. General Dynamics is a major defense contractor. The G||||||||D logo, when printed in color, has the vertical bars in a range of contrasting but muted colors.

While this card from the San Diego data processing center of General Dynamics looks like a business form, on closer inspection, the complex layout just has 80 blanks where someone can hand-write 80 columns worth of text. The odd arrangement, with blanks 1-40 on the right side of the card and blanks 41-80 on the left, allows the card to be transcribed on a keypunch, with the left side of the card hidden under the punch while the keypunch operator is reading the right side of the card, and visa versa.

Gesellschaft für Mathematik und Datenverarbeitung

 [GMD punched card]

GMD, or the Gesellschaft für Mathematik und Datenverarbeitung (Society for Mathematics and Information technology), had a nice presentation of their graph-paper logo on the right side of a general-purpose card marked off with 20 4-column fields.

Kitt Peak National Observatory

 [Kitt Peak National Observatory punched card]

Most institutions were content to print either their name or their logo on a card, but some cards featured both. Kitt Peak chose to clear most of the card to ensure that their tastefully assymetrical artwork would not be obscured.

Rutherford Laboratories

 [Rutherford Laboratories blue job card]
 [Rutherford Laboratories job control card]

The Rutherford logo on these cards shows, schematically, a top view of a synchrotron ring with 8 bending magnet sections. Smaller focusing magnets would typically be placed in the gaps between the bending magnet sections.

Rutherford Labs, near Harwell, began as the Rutherford High Energy Laboratory in 1957. The Science Research Council took over operation of the lab in 1965, and the lab acquired an IBM 360 Model 195 computer in 1971. The lab retired its last 360/195 in 1982, but the SRC was renamed the Science and Engineering Research Council in 1981, so this card must date from between 1971 and 1981.

The two cards here are not interchangable. Each job was a deck of cards input to the computer with a job card (the blue one) at the head of the deck. Within the deck would be blocks of program and data cards, each preceeded and followed by job-control-language cards (cream colored here).

Science Applications Inc.

 [Science Applications Inc. FORTRAN card]

Science Applications Inc. was founded in La Jolla, California, in 1969 as an employee-owned company. In the 1970s, it was renamed Science Application International Corporation, or SAIC. The company's initial focus was on nuclear power and nuclear weapons effects, and it is now a major government contractor. This card features an early company logo placed, unusually, in the lower right. The solid field divisions are appropriate for FORTRAN code, while dotted lines divide the card into 10-column fields as might be appropriate for data.

Spink Corporation

 [Spink Corporation Punched Card]

Custom printed punched cards were not just for big institutions. Spink Corporation was a Sacramento, California based engineering firm with about 135 employees in 2001, when it was acquired by Stantec Consulting Inc., a much larger Canadian company.

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

 [Teamsters union punched card]

This general purpose card presents a classic union emblem and name, making it clear that the trade union movement was as involved in automation to the same extent as the other large institutions of the mid 20th century.

The notation DD-F17405 in very small print below columns 12 to 15 of the card indicates that the card was manufactured by Data Documents Inc., an Omaha-based supplier of business forms, time cards and similar materials.

Thyssen AG

 [Thyssen AG punched card]

This job control card from Thyssen AG has a marginal date of 10/79 in the upper right. Thyssen's corporate logo on this card is far smaller than necessary. The card itself is formatted for a number of different commands for the IBM System 360/370 Job Control Language. Curiously, although Thyssen was a German company and this card was printed in Essen, Germany, the card is entirely in English.

Thyssen AG was a major German steel producer until 1999, when it merged with Krupp. Thyssen's corporate history during World War II is complex; Fritz Thyssen, who controlled the company at the time, initially supported the Nazis but was appalled by Kristallnacht and ended up surviving the war in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.