Woman Working on an IBM 407 Accounting Machine

Today’s Photo of the Day was uploaded by The Library of Virginia. It was taken in 1959 and shows a woman working on a IBM 407 Accounting Machine. What is she doing in the photo? I think she is changing the plugboard, which directs the operation of the 407.



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6 thoughts on “Woman Working on an IBM 407 Accounting Machine

  1. To think what the machine did then, could be done on a device today that can fit in the palm of your hand.. along with making phone calls, surfing the web, playing games, checking email, etc..

  2. Bruce Wahlert says:

    The woman pictured is either puting in the control panel or taking it out. This panel is where you wire the panel to perform the function you intend to do. In 1965 while serving inVietnam I wired (programed) the first operational system in a combat zone. Prior to leaving Vietnam I was awarded the Army Commendation medal.
    True story.

  3. @Bruce First, thanks for your service. Secondly and Thirdly, were you working with similar hardware in Vietnam? Did you work with computers after the war?

  4. Bruce Wahlert says:

    Actually I wired the IBM 407 machine plus several others. I was located at
    Qui Nhon, Vietnam which is about midway up the coast of Vietnam. My getting into the Data Processing arena was shear luck. Had it not been for my good scores in my tests etc. who knows where I would be today. After getting home from Vietnam,
    I took a couple months off at my home in Colorado. I returned to Oregon where I had been working prior to going into the Army. The first place I applied for work in Jan. 1967, I was hired. And, yes it was in data processing, and still punch card days.
    I became the data center operations manager and also got into the telepnone PBX programing as well. The company I worked for has become the largest Lift Truck Attachment Manufacturing company in the USA. Cascade Corporation if you care to check that out. I helped instal the first and last IBM mainframe at Cascade. We then went to a fairly large IBM AS400. After 34 years I was burnt out and retired at age 58. Not bad for a country boy from the farm country in Colorado.
    The stories I could tell about the whole ordeal.


    Bruce Wahlert

  5. Michael O. says:

    I believe she is installing the control panel into the machine, if she was lifting it out she would be straining more. I operated the machine and wired the panels from 1957 through 1961 at Turner Manufacturing Co. in Chicago. It was a fine machine it was amazing what we did with 64 positions of alphanumeric storage. I can’t at recall how many counters , pilot selectors and co selectors we had but it all ran at 150 cycles per minute. The print line was 120 characters. Often connected to the 407 would be a 519 or 514 reproducing punch which would be used as a summery punch for the 407.

  6. Tom Duckwall says:

    What’s the term for the women who wired the plugboards? Seems like it was ____?____ girls.

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