The Census of the United States

1890 Scientific American  
nearest the operator is forced down into any hole of The census bureau of the United States for taking the perforated plate, the punch over the card is forced the general census is now busily engaged in reducing down through the card, making a corresponding aper the schedules furnished by the fifty thousand enume-ture. While it is perfectly obvious that 240 such aper rators, and in tabulating the results of the work done tures might be made on a single card, it is equally clear at the beginning
more » ... of the present summer. The scope of that this never could be req uired. Thus a person would the original census of former times has been amplified only be referred to one race, and only a single age so as to include many particulars, and the work of number could be tabulated, the same holding for other recording the results is correspondingly increased. data, so that as carried out about 18 or 20 perforations Calculating and tabulating machinery has been are made in each card. brought into use to shorten the time expended in On the upper corner of the cut will be seen the pic reaching the conclusion. With this aid the work is ture of a perforated card. A skilled operator can read progressing with exceeding rapidity. In the mere off one of these cards as if it were a book. It tells him summation of results or enumeration in gross a single if the person referred to is white or black ; it tells the operator can dispose of 50,000 names in a day. Were age, where born, if literate or illiterate, etc. But as this all that is required, the work would be completed this degree of skill is not to be expected from every now. But each schedule contains many particulars, as one, templates are provided. in which the perforated regards country of birth, age, health data, etc. Each card can be laid, and the results read through the of these headings again subdivides into a large number. apertures. In their regular use such reading is un Thus, under country of birth aU the countries of the necessary. The cards are used for tabulating results world are included, and under health there is a numer-automatically. The apparatus used for that purpose ous list of diseases to be t.abulated. This has led to a we also illustrate. division of the office work as regard such particulars, A frame holding a number of depending points cor and special tabulations are made for a number of responding with a certain number only of the 240 pos· classes. sible apertures of a si ngle card is arranged so as to be Our readers are necessarily familiar with the work of raised or lowered by a handle. When depressed, the the census enumerator. This work is entered on blank points come in contact with mercury cups, one below schedules. which he fills in with names and other data. each point, making electric contact, and each thereby The schedules from the enumerators from all parts of causes the movement of the index of a specific dial. the United Statel! were transmitted to Washington by Thus, when depressed, each of the indexes correspond registered mail. Even in the packing a regUlar ",ystem ing to the contact points in use would move forward was followed. The blanks which had been filled up one division. If, before pressing the handle, an unper were laid one upon the other on a piece of straw board. forated card were introduced, none of the contacts Each pile contained the schedules of a single ennmera-could be made, and none of the indexes would move. t.or. On top of all was placed an empty port.folio, to If, however, a perforated card is introdnced, wires will whose center was pasted the label with the enumera-descend throu·gh such of the perforations as correspond tor's name an d the designation of his district upon it. with the contact points in use. and contacts will be The· bundle was then corded together and a number of made corresponding t,o the p<lrforations in the card,
doi:10.1038/scientificamerican08301890-132 fatcat:krgxlzkfgzeqxlf5we6igfxkgu