A step toward automated computation was the introduction of punched cards, which were first successfully used in connection with computing in 1890 by Herman Hollerith working for the U.S. Census Bureau. He developed a device which could automatically read census information which had been punched onto card. Surprisingly, he did not get the idea from the work of Babbage, but rather from watching a train conductor punch tickets. As a result of his invention, reading errors were consequently greatly reduced, work flow was increased, and, more important, stacks of punched cards could be used as an accessible memory store of almost unlimited capacity; furthermore, different problems could be stored on different batches of cards and worked on as needed. Hollerith's tabulator became so successful that he started his own firm to market the device; this company eventually became International Business Machines (IBM).
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