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How much tab room equipment could an IBM 1401 replace?
> My point is: Getting a 1401 does not eliminate or even reduce
> much the need/use for unit record equipment in a billing environment.
> --Even though some present computer people may think it should.
There is a temptation to think that a 1401 system replaces most of the equipment in a tab room.
LaFarr Stuart reminds us:
Subject: Re: 1401 - The computer that changed the world
From: LaFarr Stuart < email@example.com >
Date: Thu, September 19,
Guys, I was involved in installing the first computer for the Las Vegas Telephone company. It was a 4K 1401 without magnetic tape.
I think you guys are missing a major fact, that at that time: All data came in on cards, we were required by government to keep records of all phone calls for 7 years, stored in cards.
The data came from "number please" operators recording: Start time, end time, from number, to number and a bill to number; into mark-sense cards. Reproducing punches converted these marks into holes in the card. Sorters put the cards into "Bill to" order. We had a "master deck" of the vertical and horizontal location (related to but different to latitude/longitude) of the first 6 digits of every phone number in USA. Collators/sorters merged this with phone call data. (Approximately 120,000 calls per day.) With this and time is possible to calculate the cost of a long-distance call.
Incidentally, the stacker select on the 1401 separated out the "master deck" to be used again. More Sorting/Collating put in the mailing address of our bill-to numbers, so one more run through the 1401 put in a Cash card (To be returned with the payment.) with the remainder of the long distance data to be mailed to each customer.
There is much more than I have described here, like: one time charges, international billing, and pro-rating part of a billing period.
My point is: Getting a 1401 does not eliminate or even reduce much the need/use for unit record equipment in a billing environment.--Even though some present computer people may think it should.
So, I propose:
- A basic 1401 system for billing, without magnetic tapes,
needed much of the original tab room equipment -
As the 1401 system is several times faster than any IBM accounting machine (examples 402 and 407) several accounting machines could be replaced with one 1401 system.
- Key punches (of course), sorters, mergers, were still needed
- Only the accounting machine and summery punch were no longer needed, and more than likely were no longer rented -
- A basic 1401 system for billing, but with magnetic tapes -
did not need the sorters nor mergers - which could be taken off rental.
- The 1401 tape system could sort - eliminating the need for sorters.
- The "master deck" was on tape, and during billing logically "merged" with the billing records - eliminating the need for mergers.
Suggestions/comments cheerfully accepted :-| ;-))