I don't agree with the premise implied in the intro, it did not rival the brain. But the Jacquard loom did make us think about automating and 'programming' difficult process. So a legitimate part of computing history: In the CACM:
A Computer to Rival the Brain By The New Yorker
More than two hundred years ago, a French weaver named Joseph Jacquard invented a mechanism that greatly simplified textile production. .... "