Herman Hollerith

Herman Hollerith

Infobox Person
name = Herman Hollerith

caption =
birth_date = birth date|1860|2|29|mf=y
birth_place = Buffalo, New York
death_date = Death date and age|1929|11|17|1860|2|29
death_place = Washington, DC
occupation = Statistician, inventor, businessman
death_cause = | resting_place = | resting_place_coordinates = | residence = | nationality = | other_names = | known_for = | education =City College of New York (1875)
Columbia University School of Mines (1879) | employer = | title = | salary = | networth = | height = | weight = | term = | predecessor = | successor = | party = | boards = | religion = | spouse =Lucia Beverley Talcott (1865-1944) | partner = | children = | parents = | relatives = |
| website = | footnotes =

Herman Hollerith (February 29, 1860 – November 17, 1929) was a German-American statistician who developed a mechanical tabulator based on punched cards in order to rapidly tabulate statistics from millions of pieces of data.

Personal life

Hollerith entered the City College of New York in 1875 and graduated from the Columbia University School of Mines with an "Engineer of Mines" degree in 1879. In 1880, he listed himself as a mining engineer while living in Manhattan, and he completed his Ph.D. in 1890 at Columbia University. In 1890, on September 15, he married Lucia Beverley Talcott (December 3, 1865August 4, 1944) of Veracruz, Mexico, and they had six children (three sons and three daughters).cite web | url = http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=lynxlady80&id=I05398 | title = Lucia Beverley Talcott | work = RootsWeb | accessdate = 2007-01-18 ] Other than his inventions, Hollerith "was said to cherish three things: his German heritage, his privacy and his cat Bismarck." [cite book | last = Black | first = Edwin | title = IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation | publisher = Diane Pub. Co. | year = 2001, quoted in cite journal | last = Allen | first = Frederick E. | title = Hitler and IBM: Did a Company and a Machine Spawn Evil? | journal = American Heritage | volume = 52 | issue = 5 | date = July/August 2001 | url = http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/2001/5/2001_5_24.shtml] He also "liked good cigars, fine wine, Guernsey cows, and money.... He disliked property taxes and hard-driving salesmen." [cite journal | last = Aul | first = William R. | title = Herman Hollerith: Data Processing Pioneer | journal = Think | pages = 22–24 | publisher = International Business Machines Corp. | date = November 1972 | url = http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/builders/builders_hollerith.html]

He died on November 17, 1929 of a heart attack and was buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Herman Hollerith |url= |quote= Native of New York Designed Tabulating Machines |publisher=Washington Post |date=November 18, 1929 |accessdate=2008-06-30 ]

Electronic tabulation of statistical data

At the urging of John Shaw Billings [cite book | last = Lydenberg | first = Harry Miller | title = John Shaw Billings: Creator of the National Medical Library and its Catalogue, First Director of the New York Public Library | publisher = American Library Association | date = 1924 | pages = 32 ] , Hollerith developed a mechanism to make electrical connections trigger a counter to record information. A key idea was that data could be coded numerically. Hollerith saw that if numbers could be punched in specified locations on a card, in the now familiar rows and columns, then the cards could be counted or sorted mechanically. On January 8 1889, he was issued U.S. Patent 395,782 [See US patent|395782] , claim 2 of which reads:

The herein-described method of compiling statistics, which consists in recording separate statistical items pertaining to the individual by holes or combinations of holes punched in sheets of electrically non-conducting material, and bearing a specific relation to each other and to a standard, and then counting or tallying such statistical items separately or in combination by means of mechanical counters operated by electro-magnets the circuits through which are controlled by the perforated sheets, substantially as and for the purpose set forth.

Inventions and businesses

Hollerith had left teaching and begun working for the United States Census Office in the year he filed his first patent application. Titled "Art of Compiling Statistics", it was filed on September 23, 1884; U.S. Patent No. 395782 was granted on January 8, 1889. [ [http://csdl2.computer.org/persagen/DLAbsToc.jsp?resourcePath=/dl/mags/an/&toc=comp/mags/an/1991/03/a3toc.xml&DOI=10.1109/MAHC.1991.10023 The Invention and Development of the Hollerith Punched Card] ]

Hollerith built machines under contract for the Census Office, which used them to tabulate the 1890 census in only one year. [http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mcc:@field(DOCID+@lit(mcc/023)) Hollerith's Electric Sorting and Tabulating Machine, ca. 1895] from the American Memory archives of the Library of Congress] The 1880 census had taken eight years. Hollerith then started his own business in 1896, founding the "Tabulating Machine Company". Most of the major census bureaus around the world leased his equipment and purchased his cards, as did major insurance companies. To make his system work, he invented the first automatic card-feed mechanism and the first key punch (i.e. a punch that was operated from a keyboard), which allowed a skilled operator to punch 200–300 cards per hour. He also invented a tabulator. The 1890 Tabulator was hardwired to operate only on 1890 Census cards. A wiring panel in his 1906 Type I Tabulator allowed it to do different jobs without having to be rebuilt (the first step towards programming).These inventions were the foundation of the modern information processing industry.

In 1911, four corporations, including Hollerith's firm, merged to form the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (CTR). [cite web|url=http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/documents/pdf/faq.pdf| title=IBM Archives: Frequently Asked Questions Some accounts of the merger forming CTR state that three corporations were merged. This reference notes that only three of the four merged corporations are represented in the CTR name. That may be the reason for the differing accounts.] Under the presidency of Thomas J. Watson, it was renamed International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) in 1924.

ee also

* Tabulating machine
* Punched card
* Hollerith constant


Further reading

*cite book
last = Austrian
first = G.D.
title = Herman Hollerith: The Forgotten Giant of Information Processing
publisher = Columbia
year = 1982
isbn = 0231051468


*cite book
last = Hollerith
first = Herman
title = In connection with the electric tabulation system which has been adopted by U.S. government for the work of the census bureau (Ph.D. dissertation)
publisher = Columbia University School of Mines
year = 1890

*cite journal
last = Hollerith
first = H.
title = An Electric Tabulating System
journal = The Quarterly, Columbia University School of Mines
volume = X
issue = 16
month = April
year = 1889
pages = 238–255
url = http://www.columbia.edu/acis/history/hh/index.html

*cite journal
last = Hollerith
first = Herman
title = The Electric Tabulating Machine
journal = Journal of the Royal Statistical Association
volume = 57
issue = 4
month = December
year = 1894
pages = 678–682
doi = 10.2307/2979610

External links

* Hollerith's patents from 1889: US patent|395781 US patent|395782 US patent|395783
* [http://www.computerhistory.org/archive/Hollerith%20patent.pdf Computer History Museum: Hollerith 1889 patent]
* [http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/builders/builders_hollerith.html IBM Archives: Herman Hollerith]
* [http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/vintage/vintage_4506VV2027.html IBM Archives: Tabulating Machine Co. plant]
* [http://www.officemuseum.com/data_processing_machines.htm Early Office Museum: Punched Card Tabulating Machines]
* [http://museum.nist.gov/panels/conveyor/hollerithbio.htm Hollerith page at the National Hall of Fame]
* [http://www.oakhillcemeterydc.org/map.html Map to his gravesite]
* [http://www.columbia.edu/acis/history/hollerith.html Columbia University Computing History: Herman Hollerith]
* [http://www.rhd.uit.no/census/ft1900e.html The Norwegian Historical Data Center: Census 1900] Includes a description of the use of Hollerith machines ("complicated, American enumeration machines"), together with illustrations.

NAME= Hollerith, Herman
SHORT DESCRIPTION= statistician, inventor, businessman
DATE OF BIRTH= birth date|1860|2|29|mf=y
PLACE OF BIRTH= Buffalo, New York
DATE OF DEATH= death date|1929|11|17|mf=y

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