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> He was putting the cards into something that looks like a money counting machine.

That is/was the punch card reader, with a metallic hair-comb like contraption (each prong of which was presumably connected to some sort of opto-coupler or a similar sensory component) for sensing the holes in the cards as they would pass under it at high speeds. As a kid, I used to have a lot of fun watching that in operation at my dad's office.

He used to write code (COBOL and Fortran) by hand on those graph paper-like coding sheets, then hand the sheets over to a 'specialist' card punching machine operator (I remember they used to have special courses for that too) who would punch the cards and so it went... :-)

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