Artifact Details


IBM Type 077 collator

Catalog Number



Physical object


This collator was rescued by the donor in the early 1960s and stored by him until date of donation. The condition is excellent and includes several control panels identified by office procedure ("Sort," for example) and the original dust cover. This unit, introduced in 1945, allowed merging, matching, and collating of punch card decks to be perfomed via interchangeable plugboard control panels. Other punch card machines found in a typical office of 1945, and used in conjuction with this Collator, included the Sorter, the Gang Punch, and the Tabulator. Larger offices might have also had the more advanced "Accounting Machine," which could perform more complex arithmetical functions (also under plugboard control) and which was a precursor to the stored-program "computer" introduced in offices a decade later. Plugboard text: This is an example of a plugboard used to hard-wire a "program" into punch card accounting machinery. Plugboards were widely used in the 1930s until the arrival of software programmable computers in the mid 1950s, as a means of rapidly changing the purpose and function of a machine. For example, one plugboard could set up the machine to do payroll, another for inventory, and still another for simple forecasting or specialized mathematical calculation. They were frequently traded, much like software later would be. URL: which says: The Type 77 Electric Punched Card Collator performs many card filing and pulling operations. As a filing machine, the Collator feeds and compares simultaneously two groups of punched cards: records already in file, and records to be filed. These two groups are merged in correct numerical or alphabetical sequence. If desired, the machine will at the same time remove from either group, those cards which are matched by cards in the other group, or all but those cards which are matched, or other selected cards. When operated for the purpose of pulling cards, the Collator makes it possible for one group of cards to pull corresponding cards from another group. The cards not pulled are segregated for return to the file, and the absence of any cards sought is indicated by segregation of the corresponding pulling cards. The cards pulled and those which pull them may be kept separate, or merged in sequence, as required. Many operations, previously performed less efficiently, are made automatic by this machine. Following is a brief list of applications: Filing current transaction cards with previous transaction cards. Pulling accounts receivable debit cards and combining them with cash received credit cards. Replacing old record cards with new record cards superseding them. Selecting all cards dated earlier than a certain date, as for analysis of accounts in arrears, or all cards containing a given classification number, when cards are scattered throughout the file. Combining master cards, such as name and address and rate cards with transaction cards and separating them again after their use in accounting machine operations.. Orange asset tag says "Service by Sorbus Inc.". Asset tag is covering up another asset tag that says "MAI Equipment Corporation"




International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)

Place Manufactured


Identifying Numbers

Model number 077
Serial number 077 32037 J1


52 x 40 x 19 3/4 in.


I/O: punched card


Social Security; Great Depression; Unit record equipment

Lot Number