Brief History

Computer peripherals have changed and evolved as much as computers themselves. In the early days of computing, the primary peripherals included printers, paper tape readers, paper tape punches, card readers, and card punches. In the United States, punched card systems and accounting machines were in widespread use before computers came on the scene, which led to cards being the first choice for computer I/O media. In Japan, however, paper tape was the first primary I/O media, and devices were developed accordingly to handle paper tape. Exceptions to paper tape's dominance were Japan's first electronic computer, FUJIC, and the FACOM 128A, the first relay-based computer from Fuji Communications Equipment Manufacturing (now Fujitsu), both of which used punched cards.

Creating a program on paper tape or cards as the input media requires a process of formulating flowcharts, entering the program on a coding sheet, and punching the tape or cards. Various tools and devices were developed to assist in this process.

Paper tape readers :
Until the mid-1950s, most paper tape readers were developed as teleprinter components. These were mechanical readers and worked at speeds under 10 characters per second, through read speeds were increased to around 60 characters per second by the end of the 1950s. Ferranti developed an optical paper tape reader with a speed of 200 characters per second. In Japan, the Electrical Communication Laboratory at the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation also prototyped a 200-characters-per-second machine in 1958. In the same year, NEC added an optical tape reader unit to its NEAC-2201 computer. Oki Electric also announced its own optical tape reader in 1958. The light sources for these early readers were incandescent light bulbs, and the readers contained temperature compensation circuits to compensate for the characteristic drift caused by the temperature increase in germanium transistors. By 1972, read speeds had increased to around 2000 characters per second.
Paper tape punches :
Paper tape punches were also developed as a component of teleprinters and most had punching speeds of less than 10 characters per second. Oki Electric announced a high-speed paper tape punch in 1958 capable of punching 4000 characters per minute (67 characters per second). Japanese manufacturers made further improvements over the years, but most products never exceeded 200 characters per second. Because punches must stop accurately at each row, the speed increases of reader units could not be matched.
Card readers:
The two most common cards of the punched card system era — IBM's 80-column card with rectangular holes and Remington Rand's 90-column card with circular holes — continued to be used as the input devices to the first computers. The card readers at this time passed cards between metallic brushes positioned at each column and a common metallic roller and were capable of reading around 800 cards per minute. Fujitsu completed an optical card reader in 1959. The performance of optical card readers reached the 2000-cards-per-minute mark in the 1970s.
Card punches:
Key card punches were used initially, carried over from the punched card system era. Later, a number of companies developed specific card punches for computers. Oki Electric, in 1961, developed the OKITAC-5092 card reader/punch that could punch 150 cards per minute for the OKITAC-5090 computer. Fujitsu, in 1962, developed a card punch for the FACOM 222. Most offline card punches in use were IBM products, but in 1967 Hitachi developed its own offline card punch. Punch speeds in the 1970s were about double those in the 1960s.