New machine to speed up statistics of census of 1940. Washington, D.C., Dec. 2. Back in 1870, it took 7 years to compile statistics from the facts taken by census takers, but in the next 10 years, Herman Hollerith invented a 'unit tabulator,' shown on left of photo being operated by Operator Ann Oliver. This machine is fed cards containing census information at the rate of 400 a minute and from these, 12 separate bits of statistical information is extracted. Not so long ago, Eugene M. La Boiteaux, Census Bureau inventor, turned out a smaller, more compact machine, which extracts 58 statistics from 150 cards per minute. This machine is shown on the right and is being operated by Virginia Balinger, Assistant Supervisor of the current Inquiry Section. With the aid of this machine, statistical information from the 1940 census is expected to be compiled in 2 1/2 years. The secret of the machine lies in the cards. The written information taken by census takers is brought in and the data translated into code numbers which are punched on the card, and the legible data is locked up in vaults away from prying eyes. Cards are fed into the machine, sensitive steel fingers feel out the punches, set up electrical impulses, and in no time at all, the card has set down on the large sheet just what statistic from each individual goes in what place
Harris & Ewing, photographer
Washington, District of Columbia, United States, 38.90719, -77.03687
Library of Congress
No known restrictions on publication.