Livre De Prieres

Livre De Prieres. Ca. 1880.

The minutely realized designs of the pages of this French prayer book are made from silk and were produced entirely on a Jacquard loom programmed by using several hundred thousand punch cards. The quality of the work is nothing short of magnificent, with astonishing detail being achieved by the use of very fine thread and an extraordinarily tight horizontal weave (threads were set just one-tenth of a millimeter apart). The punch card technology used here has much in common with that employed by the early main frame computers, and in basic ways, it can be said that the present volume is the first book to be produced using (what was to become) computer technology.

Link: Article that puts silk prayer books in a historical context - Things That Think: An Interview with Computer Collector Nicholas Gessler.