Talk:Herman Hollerith

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Old, unsigned and/or unorganized discussion[edit]

Is it just me or does this page seem rather negative?

It is worse than negative. Its content is at least 50% of a rant against the use of punched card systems to support Nazi activities during WWII. By then Hollerith was long dead. In fact he was out of the picture when IBM was formed and Thomas Watson came in in the 1920s. Any info on use of punched card machines and punched cards during WW II should be elsewhere, and even then it should be used to stress that his invention was used for both good and evil after his death, the US armies haviung mobile detachments of punch card IBM machines mounted on trucks to keep track of all army ppersonel. So the punched cards helped defeat the nazis and liberate the concentration camps, in a sense. In the end though the nazis would have done their worse even without any punch cards, and the allies would have easily liberated Europe without a single punch card so it is rather silly to consider them an important factor in the war. AlainV 03:20, 8 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Mention should at least be made that the Nazis did use the Hollerith machines. While they were certainly not the deciding factor, they made the Nazis that much more efficient. Falcon 13:18, 8 Jun 2004 (UTC)

But where do you stop? Typewriters also made the nazis more efficient. They had countless numbers of those new (for that period) inventions! Do you place a mention of typewriters being used by those evil types on the typewriter article page? In fact I could argue that it made them much more effcient than Hollerith machines, since I know quite a bit about office effciency. My point is that this "mention" of Nazi use of thoise machines has more to do with a rant trying to put some kind of war guilt on IBM because at the time some segments of that company supplied parts and maintenance to their Hollerith machines being used by the axis (nazis included) in Europe, at the same time that the main company in the US gave full support to their vast numbers of Hollerith machines in the US. All of this has nothing to do with Herman Hollerith. If you want to be logical about this then articles on Sholes and »Gllidden and other inventors of the modern typewriter should mention the effect of their invention on nazi efficiency. And so should articles on just about every new technology of the period and the inventors of every new technology of the period. AlainV 09:50, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

If in fact there was a single company who aided the Nazi cause (as opposed to a number of different ones) by providing typewriters, perhaps mention should be made of that too. Falcon 03:48, 13 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I moved the below from the article, as it happened years after the subject of the article died, and does not seem to be about something Hollerith himself did. Perhaps this belongs in some other article; about the Holocaust, or perhaps we need a seperate article about "Hollerith cards" if they were historically significant. -- Infrogmation 04:12, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Hollerith cards made the Holocaust possible. Hollerith departments were used at Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, Flossenbürg, Mauthasen, Ravensbrück, Stuffhof, and Westerbork. Hollerith systems were used for bombing surveys, for the Dutch census, and for camp population management; for military uses, for Nazi businesses, for railroads, for tracking Allied Soldiers, and most controversially for synchronization of the "Final Solution".

References[edit]

  • IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation, Edwin Black, Crown Publishers, 2001, [ISBN 0609607995]

Upon reflection, I am being bold and assuming that the part I moved is the reason for the NPOV message in the article, which I removed. If it is there for other reasons, please correct me. -- Infrogmation 04:12, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I notice that "Hollerith card" redirects to punch card. Perhaps that is the appropriate place for this information? -- Infrogmation 04:15, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Details on the Hollerith card, like its 80 column format, that were invented after his death have no place in his biography. I revised to make clear what his clever ideas actually were, and what was owed to Billings. Rjensen 02:17, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

Birthdate?[edit]

So, the page says he was born in the US in 1860. But the MIT page in the external links says he was born before 1848 in Germany. Which date is accurate? - LtNOWIS 12:03, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

I just now added a recent photo of Hollerith's grave site, which supports the 1860 date. A copy of the man's birth certificate would be an even better check on the date. - Astrochemist 04:00, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
From the Columbia link, where he got his degree:
Herman Hollerith (1860-1929), Columbia University School of Mines EM 1879, Columbia University PhD 1890. ... After receiving his Engineer of Mines (EM) degree at age 19...
All supports 1860 birth. tooold 20:35, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Vandalism[edit]

Vandalized after being posted to Slashdot. Someone should remove vandalism by user "zaphost." I get an error when I try to revert. --Anonymous 20:19, 26 March 2008 (UTC)