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Re: editor and word processor history (was: Re: RTF for emacs)

From: Barry Margolin
Subject: Re: editor and word processor history (was: Re: RTF for emacs)
Date: Thu, 29 May 2014 19:49:35 -0400
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.5.3b3 (Intel Mac OS X)

In article <87k394mbwd.fsf@debian.uxu>,
 Emanuel Berg <> wrote:

> Robert Thorpe <> writes:
> > In those days programs were punched onto cards using
> > keypunches or punched onto paper tape.  Sometimes
> > they were written on paper and someone else would
> > punch them in.  In those early days editors were
> > there to help people fix mistakes afterwards once a
> > file existed on a tape or disk.  Only later were they
> > used for the whole writing process.
> OK, but then how did the data get on the tape/disk in
> the first place?

IIRC, Teletypes could be put into local mode, where what you typed was 
punched directly onto the paper tape.

For punch cards, there were key punches -- they were essentially 
typewriters that punched onto cards instead of writing onto paper.

The ASCII code for DEL is 127 because that was all the bits on a 
7-column paper tape. So if you made a mistake while punching the tape, 
you could back up and press DEL, and it would punch all the holes in 
that row -- it was the paper-tape equivalent of White-Out. Applications 
that read text from paper tape would ignore that code.

Barry Margolin,
Arlington, MA
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