Teletype Corp.,"chad," B. Popik

Frank Abate abatefr at EARTHLINK.NET
Wed Jan 3 23:24:56 UTC 2001

Further to Gerald Cohen's below, I can report from research I did on the US
Patent and Trademark Office website (a wonderful resource, btw, at: that the name of the company is
(or was) definitely the Teletype Corporation.  Before the advent of faxes,
email, etc., teletype machines were a very important means of long-distance
communication for written data, used by all major businesses and governments
worldwide, esp. after WWII.  Teletype machines looked like a very large
electric typewriter on a stand, and many had paper-tape recording devices
along with them.  Beneath the tape-punching device was a bin to catch the
punched-out holes.

However, punched-tape technology is much older than even teletypes.  There
are US patents for paper-punching devices for telegraphy dating back to the
early 1920s.  Some searching revealed that the idea of coded
paper tape goes back to the British engineer and inventor Sir Charles
Wheatstone, who described the concept in 1857 as a way to record Morse code.
Then Frenchman Emile Baudot (eponymous source of "baud") developed the
Baudot code, a 5-bit system for encoding characters.  This was used on paper
tape for decades, until it was replaced by an 8-bit system in the 1960s.

Then there are punch cards, which go back at least to the 1890 US Census and
its Hollerith machines.

The point is that people have been creating (if not saying) chad or chips
for many, many years, and the search for earlier uses may take us very far
back before 1947.  I have not found an earlier cite as yet, but I suspect
there may be good evidence from people who can access written records about
telegraphy and the teletype.

Frank Abate

----- Original Message -----
From: "Gerald Cohen" <gcohen at UMR.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, January 03, 2001 5:17 PM
Subject: Teletype Corp.,"chad," B. Popik

>    Earlier today I posted an e-mail I had received Mr. Chris Jensen
> and commented that his mention of "The Teletype Corporation" might
> furnish a lead as to who introduced "chad" into telegraphy jargon.
>     I just noticed that Barry Popik had already drawn attention to the
> Teletype Corporation a month ago. So Jensen's information jibes with
> Barry's and brings the date of Teletype usage back to 1952, while
> Barry had already taken the lead a step further (recommending that
> authors Adams and Butler be contacted).
> ---Gerald Cohen
> >Date:         Sun, 3 Dec 2000 23:03:02 EST
> >Reply-To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> >Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> >From: Bapopik at AOL.COM
> >Subject:      Teletype Corp. & "Chad"
> >
> >    Try Teletype Corp.?
> >    Several ads for the Teletype Corp. ran in BUSINESS AUTOMATION.
> >One ad, July 1961, pg. 61:  "Tape Readers--Will read chadless or
> >fully perforated tape. (...) Teletype Corporation manufactures this
> >equipment for the Bell System and others who require the utmost
> >reliability from their data communications facilities."
> >    Teletype Corp. was a subsidiary of Western Electric Co., Inc.
> >(now Lucent Technologies--or whatever).  Its address was 555 Touhy
> >Avenue, Skokie, Illinois.  I have no idea when Teletype Corp.
> >started, but Western Electric was around for a long while.
> >    For further information on Teletype and "chad," perhaps someone
> >can get in touch with Stephen B. Adams & Orville R. Butler, authors
> >(Cambridge University Press, 1999).
> >
> >MISC.
> >
> >August 1961, BUSINESS AUTOMATION, pg. 50.  Systematics tape punch
> >has a "jam-proof chad disposal box."
> >
> >October 1961, BUSINESS AUTOMATION, pg. 6, col. 1 ad for Avery Label
> >4.  Clean punched pin-feed holes--no "confetti."
> >5.  No bent edges or "dog-ears."

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