IBM 3740 Data Entry System was a data entry system that was announced by IBM in 1973. It recorded data on an 8" diskette, a new recording medium from IBM, for fast, flexible, efficient data entry to either high-production, centralized operations or to decentralized, remote operations. The "Diskette" was more commonly known as an 8-inch floppy disk.
The system was announced in January, 1973; became available in the second quarter of that year; and was withdrawn from marketing in December, 1983. It was developed by IBM's General Systems Division facility in Rochester, Minnesota. The 3740 system was intended to replace the traditional unit record equipment, using the IBM card.
The IBM 3740 system consisted of the following equipment:
- IBM 3741 Data Station
- IBM 3742 Dual Data Station
- IBM 3747 Data Converter (held up to 20 diskettes, for conversion to half-inch computer tape)
- IBM 3713 Printer (for printing up to 40 characters a second)
- IBM 3540 Diskette Input/Output Unit (held up to 20 diskettes, for input to/output from IBM System/360 or System/370)
There were four models of the 3741. Some would allow attachment of a printer (3713, 3715, 3717). Models 3 and 4 allowed programming in what was called ACL, which was an assembler like programming language that you could do some simple programming applications.
For simple data entry, the 3740 family replaced the punch-card-on-a-drum of the 80 column key-to-card machine with a similar program loaded into a buffer in the 3740 machine. Programming could define data entry fields, such as numeric, numeric-right-adjust, alpha, etc. A simple program could be R----A......E where the first field is a right adjust numeric field and the second field is an alpha field. Programs were keyed into numbered storage slots. If you loaded a program in an odd-numbered slot, you could load a prompting program into the following even-numbered slot. Prompt 'programs' were similar to *item#*desc*. Prompting was available on the 3741, but not on the 3742.
- "I.B.M. Introduces Machine To Enter Data Into Computer," NY Times, Jan 23, 1973
- IBM 3740 System With Flexible Diskette (IEEE Computer Society)
- IBM 3740 Announcement (1973) (IBM Archives)