Herman Hollerith’s Tabulating Machine
Census machine


Herman Hollerith


Punched Card Recorder


Quickly compiles all relevant information for a specific task


Only accounts for characteristics and definable qualities


Inserting a written card

Collected by

Warehouse 12


Artie's Office

Date of Collection

February 28, 1905



The United States Census of 1880 realized it lacked an efficient method for handling all the raw information they were gathering. Herman Hollerith provided a solution – an electrical device that would record information on a series of punched cards. Every hole in one of the columns indicated figures such as gender, age, marital status and wealth bracket.

Proving highly effective, Hollerith founded his own company and sold more machines overseas for accounting and statistical purposes. After several mergers, the data compilation Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company was founded, ultimately growing to become IBM.


Placing a paper card inside the operating mechanisms will punch out holes, its normal function. However, when a slip filled with queries of interest and categorical fields is inserted, it transcribes as much relevant information as possible. Data for simple yes-no questions is indicated by the presence or lack of holes next to the questions, while lengthier and specific information is written down in immaculate handwriting.

As it possesses an astonishingly high accuracy, it has been used by Warehouse 13 agents for decades in finding evidence for elusive cases. Alas, the tabulator cannot account for factors such as emotional volatility or sudden misfortune. Only data that can be measured against a reliable metric is ever released for consumption.

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