[cctalk] Re: TOP POSTING

Jon Elson elson at pico-systems.com
Sat Dec 12 11:02:22 CST 2015

On 12/12/2015 07:22 AM, Mike wrote:
> The one question I do have for the older gentlemen on here 
> is what in the world did the computers without a screen to 
> look at do? Now I know about the tape, cassette tape's and 
> even the paper with the hole punches in them but what kind 
> of applications were they use for? Mathematics or? ? ? 
Well, in the 1960's lots of companies ran their payroll, 
billing and general ledger on IBM 1401 and similar 
machines.  IBM sold 12000 of them, and then there were 
additional partially compatible machines in the same line 
(1410, 1460).  Many 1401's were used in the beginning 
entirely from cards, or cards and tape, with no disk.

Certainly, some people used them for math problems, as 
well.  I know our local phone company had a 1401 in their 
planning department, and they used it to compile statistical 
info telling them what equipment they needed to plan in the 

Our University had a 1401 for accounting, and a 7094 for the 
rest of the University's needs.  Then, in 1969 they upgraded 
the 7094 to a 360/50.  None of these machines had 
"screens".  All programming was done on punch cards, most of 
the data was prepared on punch cards, although some came on 
tape.  Then, if you were a user with privileges, you could 
get some tiny amount of disk space to hold data for a while.
Sometime later, maybe around 1971 they got some IBM 2741 
terminals which were Selectric typewriters connected to an 
interface.  Later they got some IBM 2260's, which were 
Zenith 9" TV sets and a keyboard connected to an interface 
box in the machine room.  Very primitive, but very 
interactive, great for quick program editing and submission.


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