Quote Originally Posted by Jim68134
If I remember correctly, the PBS series "Connections" (the original and one of the best series ever produced for TV IMHO) argued that the first computer was used in the selection of what thread to weave at one point on looms to make sophisticated patterns in the late 1800s. Also around 1900 a punch card system was used to keep track, catalogue or "compute"statistics on immigrants coming into Ellis Island station.
I remember that TV series well. It did stretch those connections a bit. Not to start a war or anything, but to be absolutely accurate, the weaving apparatus was programmable with a form of punch card but it did not "compute" anything. That was done by the "programmer" - puncher of the cards. One might infer that it was digitally controlled, and it was binary in nature. There were however ancient (well, very old) computers in use far earlier than the electronic revolution types. The fire control computers used to target torpedoes in WWII were definitely computers and definitely not digital.