picture of punch card

Card Reader Service for 80-Column IBM Punch Cards

Recovery service for your legacy data and programs

Possibly the last business on Earth that can turn your punch cards back into a database.

open to the public — and the world

since 2005

* * * Winter Sale!!! 1 week only! * * *

Do you have old data or old programs on 80-column keypunch cards?

We handle punch cards from diverse backgrounds: Old corporate databases, business records, financial accounts,
historical archives, software, dissertations, and raw data from the sciences are all locked away in this cryptic outdated format. We can convert them to electronic form.

Modern data processing can bring your punch cards back to life. Your data deserves to be more visible, more accessible, more readable, more searchable.

We read computer punch cards. Let us recover your lost data for you.

Method 2: Self-Serve (by-email)

Method 2: Card Reading over Internet, using your Scanner.

Unlike our competition, we let you read your own cards, using inexpensive office equipment.
If you have a scanner, you can recover your data today. :^)

Online service. No shipping needed. You scan the cards and send us the scanned images; we do the rest.

flag of France, German flag, Dutch flag, flag of the UK, flag of India, Australian flag. German: Lochkartenleser. French: lecteur de cartes perforées. Dutch: punch kaartlezer. Spanish: lector de tarjetas perforadas. Italian: lettore di schede perforate. Swedish: punch-kortläsare. Danish: patrice kortlæser. Norwegian: punsj kortleser.
Best option for international clients.

This method is intended for archivists. card minimum.


Method 1: Full Service (by-mail)

Method 1: Card Reading by Mail.

Full service. Simply ship the cards to us, and we’ll do all the work.

Sale Price: per card!!!
One week only — you must postmark your cards on or before .
The post office closes Saturday at noon. How’s the boxing coming?
This sale is for new customers only (existing contacts are not eligible).

New Customer Sale
• Save 1.5¢ per card •
(click for details)

Features and Sample Output

FAQ #17: A customer asks: "Couldn’t I just train a student to read the holes in the cards?" (See answer)

Vintage Punch Cards for Sale

Punch Cards for Sale.

Some are fancy, some are plain, some are punched, some are new.
Some contain mathematical formulas.
These collector’s items from the early computer era are available in limited quantities.
The perfect gift for techies and mad scientists.

Price: for $1 and up

See the Samples

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Floods happen! Your cards can get mold and mildew ! Protect your data by converting to a waterproof disc. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Do not fold, spindle or mutilate this web page. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If you think about it, a compact disc (CD) is just a circular punch card. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Let a perfectionist do the work. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Did you know: If you punched 1 gigabyte of information onto punch cards, it would weigh 37 tons, and would fill a medium sized bedroom, wall to wall, floor to ceiling. The chads alone would weigh 1 to 2 tons. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- More accurate than a team of typists! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Animation: The Power of Modern Computing. Digital Image Processing for accuracy a machine can’t match. Statistical Anomaly Detection helps you find typos and points of interest in your data. Colorized Output for easy reading. There has never been a better time to have your punch cards read. Aren’t you glad you waited?

This business accepts PayPal for completely paperless, total electronic service

We accept major credit cards via PayPal

Detailed List of Services:

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Hollereth, Holerith, Hollorith, Holorith, marksense, marked sense, key punch, cardreader, cardreaders, tabulator cards, 
punch card boxes. 
We convert ASCII and EBCDIC cards, FORTRAN and COBOL data, and SPSS cards. 
geocaching, geocache, caching, cache, 
ponskaart, ponskaarten, 
Lochkarte, Lochkarten, Lochkartenleser, Lochkarten lesen, Lochkartenstapel, 
läsa hålkort, 
German: Wir lesen Lochkarten. French: Nous lisons des cartes perforées. Dutch: Lezen we ponskaarten. Spanish: Leemos tarjetas perforadas. Italian: Leggiamo schede perforate.
panca karda, Muka karada, Chidra patraka, 
delikli kart, 
Japanese: Panchikado, 
price list, prices 

We’re proud to say all labor is done in the USA.
This is one business that’s not going overseas.


Features and Sample Output

Do people still use punch cards?
Say hello to our list of clients. You know some of them by name.

click to enlarge

How is output provided?
You will receive:
  • plain text files, showing exactly what was on your punch cards
  • colorful HTML files for easy reading
  • Anomaly Detection results — we highlight unusual characters
  • Excel-compatible file for easy loading into databases and spreadsheets (optional — add per card for this convenience feature)
The finished data will be sent to you electronically, by web and by e-mail.
How good is your accuracy?
Far, far better than a typist.
Every punch card is analyzed by two versions of our imaging software. The results are compared and then passed through our statistical anomaly detection software, and a human reviews anything suspicious. Next, your cards are inspected by an expert in ancient data practices and encodings.

40-year-old typos, caught and highlighted by a 21st Century computer.
The yellow columns contain a sequence number which the customer had thought was in order.
Our computer didn’t just find the error — it figured out what the typist intended.

Can your card reader do that?

The software has intuition. It’s not exactly AI, but it’s close.
Our process is automated, it’s thorough, it has sex appeal, and it’s included in the regular price.

Customers are saying:

  • “Awesome job.”
  • “I was surprised by all the analysis.”
  • “You are a wizard. We could not have done it without your help. We are in your debt.”
We lost our codebook and column headings. We don’t know what our numbers mean. Can you help us?
Yes, probably. One of our clients sent us this mystery data. It looked pretty random:
But we figured it out:
And here’s how we did it: [more...]
We need our data converted to Excel format. Can you help?
Sure. By default, we will output exactly what’s on the card, as text, with nothing added. But if you need a spreadsheet, we can do that.
When you submit your cards, please include a copy of your codebook, or indicate which columns are meant to be separate fields, and what their data types are.
    1-6    numeric
    7      ignore 
    8-12   numeric 
    13     numeric 
    14-72  alpha 
    73-80  ignore 
We also speak SPSS and Fortran:
    Name        A20
    Rank        I3
    Serial No.  I6 
    ZIP Code    I5
    Latitude    F6.2
    Barometer   F5.2 
You’ll receive a CSV file and an XLS spreadsheet. Excel conversion is an additional per card.
Do you do data entry?
If your cards have handwritten notes or symbols on them, we can capture those and add them to the output file. (Optional; labor charges may apply.) We can also do photo capture and include the images in the final spreadsheet.
Can I scan my cards instead of mailing them?
This tends to be harder work (for you and for us) than the mail-in method, and so we will only consider archivists and document professionals with large orders and special scanners. To see if you are eligible, visit the Method 2 page.
Couldn’t I just type the text printed on the cards? Couldn’t I just OCR the text? Couldn’t I just buy a used card reader? Couldn’t I just train a student to read the holes in the cards? Couldn’t I just build a card reader out of a Coke bottle and a windshield wiper? Couldn’t I just ....
Uh... You care about accuracy, right? Our world-class clients have a real business need to recover their data accurately and reuse it. Our image processing apps were written by a professional computer scientist and tested and refined and expanded for years. Our customers expect expertise, accuracy, and data analysis that magically finds their typos and exposes long-forgotten errors. We give them that. Reading the little holes in the cards was just the beginning. But hey, good luck making a lens out of that Coke bottle. ;^) When you’re serious about recovering your data perfectly, you know where to find us.
How long does processing take?
Once we receive your cards, card reading usually takes one week per box. After that, we often look for quick ways to “frost the cake” by creating special formats and custom colorizations to make your data look its best.
Do you accept credit cards?
Yes. PayPal is our credit card processor. At the appropriate time, after the work is done, we will press a button, and PayPal will show you a secure online payment form, where you may type your credit card number. Please do not send your credit card number directly to us.
Do I need a PayPal account?
No. At payment time, you will see a payment window that looks like this. That is all.
Does shipping cost a lot?
Surprise: A standard box of 2000 cards weighs under 12 pounds and can be mailed for in the USA
(that’s a third of a penny per card).
When you’re ready to ship, ask us for our address and our page of shipping tips.
Better still, click here and we’ll send you one of our easy shipping boxes!
Why didn’t you answer my e-mail?
You must be using Gmail. Look in your Spam folder. Gmail (Google Mail) sometimes blocks mail from new contacts.
If you’ll send a short e-mail to the address below, Gmail should add us to your whitelist.
Do you sell punch cards?
Yes. Please visit our online store.
You won’t drop or shuffle or damage my cards, will you?
Polite customers are sometimes eligible for discounts.
What is your minimum order?
No minimum this month — we can do 10 cards or 10 boxes.
cards. You are still welcome to send fewer cards, with the understanding that the minimum charge for Method 1 is for cards.

The minimum charge for Method 2 is for cards.

Hollerith you need us! ;^)

Logo: PunchCardReader.com. Card Reader Service for 80-Column IBM Punch Cards

Copyright © 2005-2018  J. E. Brown   all rights reserved.

In the secret city of Los Alamos, New Mexico USA.

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