Punched Cards

During my engineer days with ICL, and later at University in Christchurch (around 1970, then 1973-74), punched cards were the de-facto input media for computers. They did come in different column widths and formats, but the majority by far were as per the pictures below - 80 columns of data and control characters.

These are a few of about 100 I bought recently at auction, they are ‘source’ and ‘control’ cards for a program of some sort.

The cards have “International Computers (New Zealand) Ltd” and “Printed in New Zealand” on them. When I can find them again, I’ll re-photograph them with the new Fuji S9600 camera we purchased recently. Now that I have some lights set up, the end result is considerably better than I could manage with my previous Fuji 2.1mb camera, which is now a museum piece in its own right.

On the cards shown here, the lines read:

“,HOLD/STAMP/GMAT63” - starting in column 7
“USER PTH001U/PAPMATS;CLASS 3” starting in column 2
“VEE(1) = LR + 15.0*PA” starting in column 7

I suspect this is FORTRAN, it doesn’t look like COBOL, it’s not PLAN (the ICL Assembler language) and it’s not ALGOL (used at the time of punched cards in NZ Universities). It could be BASIC but that would be unusual on punched cards. The cards could have been in use on a non-ICL machine, they were not machine-specific. From memory, ICL made most of the hand punches used to create low-volume cards. High-volume cards were punched either on data entry consoles, or directly by the mainframes (via a card punch in both cases, obviously).

This would be a job-control card. Closer view below.

The Manufacturer, ICL (International Computers Ltd),
who I worked for in Wellington for a period (1972 I think).

Another job-control card, specifying the username of the account to which the run should be charged. At University, billing was usually based on the CPU (processor) time used. We were allocated funds at the start of the year, if you ran out it cost real dollars to buy more time.

Program source code card

Just to show the size of the cards. For US visitors, 2.54 cms = 1 inch.