I have enjoyed reading the comments the last few days, and have been surprised to see how many of you have actually used a computer key punch machine.
Today's picture is of a tabulating machine. It was not really a computer, but more of a counter. In the late 1800's and early 1900's completing the census was becoming an intractable problem. To help with this, the Tabulating Machine was developed. Each person's Census data was "key punched" into a card. The tabulating machine had electromechanical relays that could in effect do the counting for the census office. The technology developed for punching and reading the cards was critical in the development of functioning computers.