Display-less computing

Charlie Carothers csquared3 at tx.rr.com
Mon Dec 14 11:45:42 CST 2015

On 12/14/2015 11:17 AM, Charlie Carothers wrote:
> On 12/12/2015 6:11 PM, Eric Christopherson wrote:
>> On Sat, Dec 12, 2015, 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? ? ?
> I think that's a very inviting question for those of us who view those 
> years with a good bit of fond nostalgia!
> The first ones I personally encountered all read and punched 80-column 
> cards.  Some read and wrote to physically rather huge disk drives 
> which could store all of 5MB, but most of them read and wrote 7-track 
> 1/2" wide magnetic tape.  The "display" was a line printer. These were 
> strictly business systems used to maintain the needed data for 
> insurance companies, banks, General Services Administration, and a 
> local daily newspaper.
> Later, rather more interesting ones to me, read and punched 1" wide 
> paper tape.  Their primary output was to 1/2" magnetic tape, and their 
> operator consoles were an I/O Selectric typewriter. Some of them also 
> had line printers.  They were more interesting to me because they were 
> interfaced to optical character readers, and their main role was to 
> control certain parameters in the OCR system but mostly to receive the 
> characters which were read and write them to the mag tape.  The mag 
> tapes were further processed on much larger computer systems as 
> desired by the customers.
> All text, no graphics at all.  Well, I did once write a graph plotting 
> program that could plot data to a line printer.  It could even plot 
> multiple graphs overlaid, and kept the curves separated by using a 
> different text character for each input data set. That was fun. :-)
> Please note that I did change the subject on you so folks would know 
> this is not part of the abominable thread.
> Later,
> Charlie C.
Whoops, I should have read further before changing the subject! Sorry 
about that.  Hopefully this will "fix" it, even though I'm probably 
committing a no-no by replying to my own post.
Charlie C.

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