Herman Hollerith patents mechanical key punch

10th September 1901
Herman Hollerith patents mechanical key punch

In 1901 Herman Hollerith patented his Type 001 Mechanical Card Punch. This device was the first key punch operated from a keyboard, so that the operator could punch digits 0-9, without knowing the corresponding card codes.

Hollerith described his invention as follows:

"My invention ... comprises a traveling carrier for the card, a series of key-operated punches arranged at right angles to the path in which the carrier moves, so that in any position of the card either the cypher or any of the nine digits may be punched by the operation of the proper key."

Hollerith was granted a patent for his design on 10th September 1901, patent number US682197.

Related information:


  • Schematics from Hollerith's 1901 patent
    Credit: Public domain.

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