Texas firm still does business on computer on museums’ wanted list

Sparkler Filters doesn’t use a software programme like Microsoft Excel when doing its books and inventory lists. The Texan company still uses punch cards and a IBM 402 computer – an archaic piece of equipment, made in 1948, and on the wanted list for many museums – to figure out where money should go, or when to re-stock.

To give an idea of what we’re talking about, let’s have a look at a IBM 402:

IBM 402

And what it looks like on the inside:


The reason that Sparkler Filters is still using the IBM 402 is rather endearing: it’s Lutricia Wood.

Lutricia Wood is head accountant at Sparkler and also the main data processing manager. Exactly 40 years ago, she started at Sparkler; it was a time when punch cards were still – to a certain extent – considered state of the art.

And – much like it the case with Lutricia Wood – Sparkler Filters seem to be working on the premise of ‘if it ain’t broke…’. And I for one quite like the idea that what may very well be the last functioning IBM 402 in existence is still punching cards somewhere in Texas.


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