Punched Tape

Computer Punch Tape?

Perforated paper tapes were first used by Basile Bouchon in 1725 to control automated weaving looms. I first used these tapes in high school, in the early 1970s for the storage of computer programs. In school, we used one-inch wide, 8-hole paper tape. We used a TTY terminal, like the ones whose sound has been adopted as a shorthand sound effect for breaking news. Our TTY would both punch and read these tapes. In-between classes we would store these rolls of paper tape in old 35mm film cans. Some of the guys even fashioned so-called utility belts in which to carry them around, Batman style. We thought that they were pretty cool. Yes, we really were that geeky. An important difference between these two pictures is that the one below shows the real paper tape. It is nine holes across. Eight holes to store the individual ASCII characters, plus a ninth row of holes that acted as a guide for the punch hole reader. The photo above in not rows of paper tape at all, but a metal screen that is now in the Missouri Botanical Garden’s new visitor’s center. The sunlit shadows only enhance its esthetic. It also has nine holes across each strip, but nine holes for information instead of the usual eight and no line of guide holes, but maybe its artist was going for hexadecimal over ASCII? After all, it is the 21st-century.

8-Hole Punched Paper Tape Roll – Wiki

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