Charles Babbage's analytical engine (see Fig. 1), which already provided for conditional branching, is regarded as the ancestor of the modern-day computer. He wanted to control his programmable machine with punched cards similar to the automatic looms from France.
Punched tapes or punched cards joined to tapes simplified work on looms (pattern control). Among the pioneers were Basile Bouchon (see Fig. 2), Jean-Baptiste Falcon (see Fig. 3), and Joseph-Marie Jacquard (see Fig. 4). Their achievements are on view in the Musée des arts et métiers in Paris.
The upsurge of punched card machines began in 1890 with the American census (Herman Hollerith). Punch card machines (see Fig. 5) were in use until the 1980s.