IBM 557 Alphabetic Interpreter??

From: Fred Cisin <>
Date: Tue Mar 30 10:34:48 1999

#026 and #029 keypunches, nor the punch outputs of most computers, did
NOT print anything on the card. There also existed interpreters, both as
hefty stand-alone, and in #029 housings, that would READ the punches on
the card and print the info on the card, so that it would be readable by
lusers who didn't know how to read punches.
The #029 version printed 80 columns, aligned with the punches (although
there was a LITTLE bit of suppression, etc. available through drum card
The stand-alone unit was massive. The ones that I used printed an
oversize font, (60? characters per line?), and therefore could NOT line
up the characters with the content. It was plug-board programmable for
whatever positions, suppressions, etc. you wanted. For years I had on my
wall one such plug-board that had been setup for convenient reading of
COBOL programs, and was labelled "COBOL. Interpreter". I had it on the
wall just for those who wouldn't believe that there existed a COBOL
interpreter :-)

Fred Cisin            
2210 Sixth St.                  (510) 644-9366
Berkeley, CA 94710-2219
On Mon, 29 Mar 1999, Sellam Ismail wrote:
> Does anyone know what the function of an IBM 557 Alphabetic Interpreter
> is/was?
> Looks like a punch card sorter of some sort.
> Sellam                                    Alternate e-mail:
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Received on Tue Mar 30 1999 - 10:34:48 BST

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