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Glenn’s Computer Museum

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IBM 083 Sorter
Figure 1

IBM 083 Sorter

Here is the quintessential piece of card equipment: a sorter. Our IBM 083 is one of the last of a line of IBM card sorters. Card sorters read one particular column as each card is passed through them and sends the card to the appropriate bin for what's punched in that column. Since there are 12 punch positions in each column, the read cards are routed one of 13 separate bins (12 plus one for errors). The 083 sorts at 1,000 cards a minute: over 16 per second. When it runs, it's very impressive; the cards move faster than the eye can follow. It also has a card counter for verifying the number of cards processed.