Paper Tape and Punched Cards Introduction

Welcome to the University of Queensland Physics Museum Paper Tape and Punch Cards Audio Tour. This tour will take you through a range of items that were used to transmit, receive, process or store data before and at the beginning of the computer age. The display is located in the UQ Physics Museum, directly across from the northern door. 

Some of the items on this tour include an early example of a personal computer, as well as manually operated card punches, which were used to transfer information and programs on the pieces of card that could be read by various machines. The display also includes a card storage cabinet. Punch Card information storage was first developed in 1889 and was used in the 1890 USA census. In the 1950s paper tape and punch cards were adapted for use in computer programming.

The links below will take you through the items on display.  Each webpage contains a transcript of the audio guide, along with links to further related material.


Start the tour