Before IBM, before punch-card computers, before Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, one of the very first machines that could run something like what we now call a "program" was used to make fabric. This machine—a loom—could process so much information that the fabric it produced could display pictures detailed enough that they might be mistaken for engravings.
Like, for instance, the image above: a woven piece of fabric that depicts Joseph-Marie Jacquard, the inventor of the weaving technology that made its creation possible. As James Essinger recounts in Jacquard's Web, in the early 1840s Charles Babbage kept a copy at home and would ask guests to guess how it was made. They were usually wrong.
Weaving a pattern that detailed was, before the early 1800s, if not outright impossible, impossibly tedious. At its simplest, weaving means taking a series of parallel strings (the warp) lifting a selection of them up, and running another string (the weft) between the two layers, creating a crosshatch. Making more complicated patterns means choosing more carefully which of the warp strings lie on top of the weft each time it passes through. In the years before Jacquard invented his loom head, the best way to do this was by hand.