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The GNU Story, Day 7: Herman Hollerith’s ‘Tabulating Machine’

Frustrated with the grueling, expensive, labor-intensive 7.5 years it would take to tabulate the 1880 census, high-ranking census official, John Shaw Billings commissioned his future son-in-law, Herman Hollerith, to build a machine that would reduce the time it would take to calculate the next census.

Hollerith worked throughout the 1880’s on his device and won a speed tabulating contest against several other machines to win the contract to tabulate the 1890 census.