Prescored Punched Cards

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

Compucorp Calculator Program Card (pre-scored)


Compucorp made one of the early programmable desktop calculators in the late 1960's, in competition with Hewlett Packard and Olivetti. Compucorp calculators were programmed with punched cards, but in keeping with the desktop environment, they used pre-scored cards, so a programmer could punch a program using a stylus such as a paperclip. The standard pre-scored card, developed by IBM in the early 1960's, was fully compatable with the standard 80 column card, but it only used the even-numbered columns, so could only hold 40 columns of data. In this case, the card format suggests that each column held a single calculator instruction made up of 3 fields of 3 bits each. Only 32 columns are preformatted for programming. A high resolution scan is available.

A 228 position Votomatic ballot


This card is perforated so that it can be torn into three pieces; the middle piece holds space for write-in votes and may be folded over the card to provide a bit of privacy when handling the card. The left end (as pictured), when torn off, may be processed using standard punch-card data processing equipment, while a short stub at the right end may be printed with a serial number (required in some jurisdictions) or used for binding ballots into pads for distribution at the polling place. High resolution scans of these pieces are available: left, middle, right.

A multipurpose pre-scored convention ballot


A stack of pre-scored punched card ballots was issued as part of the credentials packet to each delegate to the 1984 Iowa State Democratic Convention, along with a bit of styrofoam to back ballots during punching and a paperclip to use as a punching stylus. This is identically the same technology as is used with "votomatic" ballots, when sent through the mail for absentee voting, but the ballot format reflects its use in the context of a political convention. Elections carried out on the convention floor were not by secret ballot, so each delegate's ballots were pre-punched with the delegate ID and ballot number, and there is space for the delegate to sign the ballot. A high resolution scan is available.