A punched card was once the basis for digital information used for computer programs and data storage. They were widely used throughout the first half of the 20th century in processing machines to input data and to store it. Punch cards could be fed into the first commercial computer, IBM 305 system, which then stored the data on hard disks.
Photo courtesy of IBM Archives.
(Besides this slideshow, we have an article that has more detail about the history of the hard drive.)