Punched Drunk: Alcohol, Surveillance and the LCBO, 1927-1975

LCBO Surveillance Technologies

Punch Cards, IBM & Statistical Analysis


Punch Cards, IBM & Statistical Analysis

Punch Card technology was developed in the 1880s and was quickly adopted by government and industry as a means of conducting “the purely mechanical work of tabulating population and similar statistics” (Alterman 1969: 5). In Ontario the LCBO used the technology of punch cards and tabulation machines as a means of tracking alcohol sales, movement and consumption as well as permit holders.

Punch Card Statistical Analysis – Punch card technology was first implemented on a large scale in Baltimore to generate public health statistics in 1886, though it became much better known after its popular success in the tabulation of the 1890 United States census. By 1928, Hollerith punch card technology had been standardized around a 12 row, 80 column design. (Read More)

How Punch Cards and Sorters Work - Sorting of the cards themselves was conducted by feeding them into a sorting machine of which the key components consisted of a brush, or “card reader,” and a mechanism to direct the card into one of the 13 pockets of the card sorting machine. (Read More)

Tracking Purchasers with IBM Punch Cards 1944-1962 - In 1944, the LCBO changed exclusively to IBM Hollerith machines to record purchases, tabulate consumption, sort individual permittees and keep a record of all permit users. (Read More)