Herman Hollerith (Hollerith) is an American engineer and inventor. His main invention is the electrical tabulating system, the prototype of the computer.
The history of computing began with the idea of creating a machine that adds multi-digit numbers. The first sketches of a 13-digit device were drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. In 1642, Pascal designed a working device. The beginning of the era of computers was laid.
For settlement operations, it is important that there is no and the need for human participation and intervals between processes. Many inventors have struggled to solve this problem. They worked on the continuity of operations. Eminent scientists have contributed to the development of automation. In the early eighties of the last century, punch cards appeared for recording a program.
Herman Hollerith became the developer. These scientists revolutionized computer science. The biography of the famous inventor began in 1860. The future engineer was born on February 29 in Buffalo in the family of an emigrant from Germany. The child was the seventh in the family. The student was expelled from the school where Herman was sent by his parents.
He hated spelling and always left the class before the start of the discipline he disliked. Until the end of his life, the scientist ignored all the rules and wrote as he saw fit. At one point, the teacher simply closed the door, not wanting to let go of the student. Hollerith, without hesitation, jumped through the second floor window.
Then Herman studied with a Lutheran teacher. A sixteen-year-old boy became a college student. He chose mining. During my studies, I got acquainted with Trowbridge. Herman became his assistant. Work began at the Statistical Office for the Population Census. At 19, the young man went to work in Washington.
Then there was a meeting with Billings, an expert in the analysis of statistical information, director of the census office. Hollerith learned from him about the idea of creating a machine that uses punched cards to compile tables from the information received. It is known about two versions of the further development of events. For the first, it was proposed to describe the personality using markings on the edges of the cards and a sorting device. The second meant a new device for this kind of work.
In 1882, Herman received an invitation to teach from the Massachusetts Institute. There Hollerith spent a year refining his ideas, developing a data recorder and tabulation device. After returning to Washington in 1883, work began at the patent office. In 1884 a proposal was put forward to improve the braking system in railway transport. The electric brakes were collected from St. Louis. The engineer took part in the competition. Electrical controls were found to be the best. However, the work in a thunderstorm caused doubts.
A new invention was the metal pipe corrugator. With his help, the company "General Motors" produced flexible connections. The tabulating machine was patented in 1884 on September 23rd. Hollerith recommended the device to be used in the compilation of tables of data of the Baltimore statistics in 1887. Then, in 1889, processing with the help of the device began in New York.
The engineer has convincingly proven the importance of punched cards in the compilation of tables. An important correction was made to the patent in 1887. It became the reason for the conclusion of agreements with Herman for the licensing of the device by many industrialists. During the 1890 census, data for each were entered on special cards with perforation for each of the characteristics.
One corner has been cut diagonally for easy recounting and manual sorting. The perforation was made by the device independently according to the sample. The operators have significantly reduced the number of errors and the amount of work.
Principle of operation
A rubber hard plate with a press and a guide stop was designed for the machine. The location of the perforations was duplicated by the grooves. They were connected to the back of the device with terminals. The recesses were partially filled with mercury.
Above the plate was placed a box with projection points driven by springs. After the card was put into the press, the point touched the mercury, the circuit was closed. A counter was activated, registering numbers up to 10,000. The device was moved by means of a magnet. The signal came through the grooves.
Periodically, the data was read, the result was recorded on the final card. If the results were summed up according to several characteristics at once, each card was recorded on the dial. Then the results were checked by adding intermediate data. Correct registration included a call from the machine. If there was no signal, it was necessary to look for and correct the error.
The press processed exclusively cards with a specially programmed code. A common hole was made in the punched cards belonging to the same group. The absence of foreign data was checked with a wire rod.
By 1890, Hollerith had become world famous. The method proposed by the engineer was distinguished not only by high speed, but also by excellent accuracy. The thirty-year-old inventor received his doctorate.
Family and life's work
Hollerith's personal life changed dramatically in mid-September. He and the daughter of his Washington doctor became husband and wife.
The family had four children. With two sons and both daughters, the scientist loved to spend his free time.
During his international scholarly career, Hollerith entered into an agreement with the Austrian government to apply the device to the statistical office. By 1895, the devices were working in Canada, work was underway to prepare deliveries to Italy with Russia.
The inventor passed away in 1929, on November 17.