Paper tape (also known as punched tape) was an early form of secondary storage, used primarily for input and output of data; it has been obsolete for many years.
It originated as a way of sending and receiving data via teletypes and teleprinters (effectively mechanical typewriters connected via serial lines). When early computers needed facilities for data input and output, existing punched tape machines were adapted for connection to them.
Early paper tapes had 5 rows of holes, but the final versions had 8 rows; the 5-bit versions were used with Baudot teleprinter codes, an early predecessor to ASCII.
- ECMA Standard for Data Interchange on Punched Tape November, 1965