20160902: Reflections of Computer Punch card Xmas wreath invention.

1967 news article punch card wreath a 1967 news article

hand & punch card the punch card

wreath on wall of home some one’s home.

punch card wreath 01



My story of the creation of these fun punch card Xmas wreaths:

In 1962, I created the computer punch card Xmas wreath.
I don’t have any photos of those original wreaths, but the story is one worth telling even if I did so else where on this blog.
I am the male Cinderella story.
1960, I given to a man, who walked me in his house and announced I was “Not his child. Would never be his child. Could not say I was his child.” { I’m 58 yrs old now & that man never changed his story. I disowned him.}
Fine, I was 2 and half years old. I understood, I had to look out for myself.
Since comments of money wasted on me was common, I knew money had to be made to survive in the world.
At 4 yrs old I was taken to the Los Angeles County Dept of Water & Power, by this man to see a big computer.
It was understood I liked machines, I had taken my bike apart and put it back together, I had fixed toaster, plus a couple other items.
A man who lived off & on as a room renter, friend of the family, a professional photographer had shown me his camera setup, a Hasselblad camera.

That hooked me on photography, an amazing piece of equipment. Never had one or even held one in my hands, but still still remember the metal box with foam to protect some of the finest crafted equipment I have ever seen to this day.

That man, dad, started working in the building, he could take me down after hours without issue.
As the operator of the machine/computer told me of the operations of the computer that the room was full of flashing lights and whirling disks of long tapes and the punch cards coming out at the end in front of the counter, I noticed the boxes of the cards on the floor.
Every so often he tossed some more in the boxes, there was only so much room to hold them on the machine or just the fact he was standing there talking, no matter.
I was a kid, “What do you do with those cards after they come out of this end of the machine?” I asked.
The man laughed, “We throw them out, can’t fill the holes back up.”
4 year old mind clicking away, “Can I have some?”
The man picked up a box and set it on the counter, with a big smile to dad, “no problem, have box full!” Easy guess the box had a thousand or more punch cards in it.

I had my prize, a box of something to play with. And it did not cost anything, chances were no one was going to bother me about them.
My half brother did not have much interest in them, so I got to sit in the garage for hours and play with my punch cards.

I don’t remember how long I played around with them, but I was one day trying to make paper airplanes out of them.
Useless, long enough, but not wide enough for wings. However I did have the stapler that day and started to staple one end together in a cone and see what else I could staple together.
I had a paper plate from my lunch sandwich and stapled one then another on at different angles around the circle of the plate.

Nope, still not going to fly. Just not a paper airplane.

But the Xmas decorations were in a pile, some had been put up already while other stuff waiting to put up outside or put away on the shelves in the garage. I had a couple in a circle around the plate and was looking at a wreath in the pile…
So I did some more around the whole plate and went into the house to show the maid and others my Xmas wreath. Stepmother & dad were there, never willing to let an insult opportunity pass them by, they laughed at it.
Then joking my stepmother told me to go do more and dad would take me some place where to sell them so I could make some money for Xmas.

Well, I did just that, my mind working on the idea that yes, I could try selling them and make money. The dad of course by now had made it clear I was to pay back what it cost to raise me, I needed to make money.
I did one row around the plate on several plates, then decided to add a second row to some of them. I painted on them and glued some glitter or other stuff on them. I had 7 of these punch card wreaths.
Well a little later with Christmas a week or so away, dad took me to the Gemco parking lot in San Fernando Valley, Granada Hills. We put the wreaths in a shopping cart and I went to the front entrance. Dad standing slightly behind off to the side. Within minutes I was selling my stuff and dad was on top of me watching
Less than an hour, at $1 for the small ones and $3 for a double row one I had made something like $15. Sold out!
Dad was blown away, what a 4 year old kid making $15 an hour in 1962, that was like his pay for being a LA Co. employee.

The next year, I had collected tree branches, pine cones, and other items for decorations, my half brother was sent out to help, but quickly lost interest in having to work or take directions from the little horrible boy.
I made 2 & 3 rows, more stuff for decorations. Dad had bought spray paint, so we painted them. Prices went up also and I had made more of them starting sooner before Xmas to make them.

We again went to Gemco, and yeah there were several other people with their ideas of how to do what I had created. Some had gotten a little fancier even.

The third year, so many people out there doing it, so many with fancy stuff on the punch card Xmas wreath design, dad turned to me, “This is your last year. You don’t have the money these people are spending.”

I was proud of myself, there were like a whole classroom of people selling my creation, 20 or more people each with their versions, all similar to what I had made.  I still sold out, it took longer, but I knew I could survive, I had found out how to make money.
I never looked back, sure I told the story over the years. I knew they were all over the place for years.
However a couple weeks ago, I wanted to see if anyone had one in a photograph on the internet. I have nothing but my memories.

Opps, there is a WHOLE SECTION of a  MUSEUM on these things, it lasted as a FAD for over 10 years.

Photos are screen shot grabs off the internet.

P.S. I never stopped creating, but just as this was something I moved from, so to many of my inventions I never chased the money, I just enjoy creating too much or just used them for my needs and never marketed them.

Computer punch card Xmas Wreath Museum

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