In this picture, you see model of the original Jacquard "loom" perfected by Joseph-Marie Jacquard in Lyon in 1804. By automating the laborious process of lifting threads to weave elaborate patterns, the device transformed the technology of silk weaving. The system of punched cards inspired Charles Babbage, who incorporated them into his design for a computer.
The students in "Science, Technology, and Silk" (spring 1999, spring 2000 and fall 2002) built a replica of this model". Check this site frequently for updates on this exciting project, as well as for further information about Jacquard, his device, and why it mattered.