May be of interest - interfacing a 1960's punched paper tape reader to a PIC microcontroller.
Interfacing a 1967 Paper Tape Reader
Thank you for a tour of some of the electronics I worked on in my career.
The teletype picture caused me to shudder. One such beast sat at a weather station at 64 degress lat, in northern Canada, in 1983. Small pins, as you described in your video, sensed the holes in the paper to read the data. The paper dust in the grease would cause the pins to bind. SOB to clean and not bend the pins!
The board edge connector immediately took me back to our company training facility. After equipment theory instruction, students would be sent into a lab with the equipment. Instructors would have cards withe cellophane tape over pins on the edge connectors to simulate faults. The more devious instructors would run wires from the pins on the edge connectors to a switch panel in order to switch faults in and out.
A basic troubleshooting skill. Actually, if you really got stumped with a fault and time was running out. Pull a card and look for tape. Well you didn't tell the instructor that. You just found the pin with the tape, looked on your schematic to determine the cause. Phew solved that one in the time limit.
Again thanks for a revisit of my life so many years ago.
"...I'd love to get hold of a complete old computer like a PDP8..."
In the meantime there are always the PiDP-8 and PiDP-11 kits...
Video of the PiDP-8 being programmed via its octal switches:
PiDP-8 tour and demo
Back in the '80s,I was working at CompuPro in Hayward, CA. I was amazed that during a visit to a contract machine shop in Berkeley, called Graysix, that the turret punch/bender making the clamshell steel enclosures (CompuPro 10) was being fed paper tape for the G code instructions, and that the paper tape punch was programmed on a DEC PDP-8, of all things!