Punched Paper Tape
Most of the earliest computers used spools of paper tape, which stored information via punch holes. Some early machines, like the Colossus Mark 1 (1944), operated entirely on the data fed in by the tape in real time. Later computers, like the Manchester Mark 1 (1949), read in programming from tape and stored it in a primitive type of electronic memory for later execution.
Various computers during the next three decades continued to use paper tape for both input and output, and the medium experienced a brief renaissance in the mid-1970s among personal computer hackers who were attracted to its low cost.
Photos: Ed Bilodeau (L) / Chris Pheiffer (R)