VERY SPECIFIC QUESTION, PLEASE READ THROUGH ALL OF IT
"The sequence of operations that the control unit goes through to process an instruction is in itself like a short computer program, and indeed, in some more complex CPU designs, there is another yet smaller computer called a microsequencer, which runs a microcode program that causes all of these events to happen."
My question is: Before the microsequencer and the microcode, how did they make CPUs to physically step from one point of the sequence to another? What was going on in those CPU designs BEFORE the "more complex" ones we have today? If that "sequence of operations the control unit goes through to process an instruction is in itself a short computer program", like Wikipedia claims, then who's executing it? Answering "The CPU itself" won't help cause the CPU executes user-defined programs exploiting the fetch-execute cycle, so it can't execute the fetch-execute cycle itself too, right? I mean, this piece of hardware responsible for creating the fetch-execute cycle should still be located somewhere inside the CPU, but it's not what people refer to when they say "the CPU". It's at a lower level of abstraction, it's what's given for granted in EVERY, EVERY, EVERY resource about CPU's internal functioning (at least the non-academical ones) that I've found so far. I can't find this information anywhere.
Please don't answer "The program counter points to the memory address to fetch the next instruction from". I know that, I just don't know how this sequentiality is actually/electrically/physically implemented. I would need a more straight up electrical answer. I know what a finite state machine is and I know that at its core the CPU is one. But that still doesn't answer "how is a FSM realized in a CPU without a microsequencer?". The microsequencer should still rely on this "sequential automation device" (the thing I'm asking about) to work.
My only mental approximation of how such automated sequenciality could work is only mechanical, not electrical (it's the piano player), and I know there are no moving parts on a computer. The Jacquard loom isn't a good example here either because it was not automated, the weaver would have to manually pull the wire that made the metal drum rotate so that the machine could read the set of punched holes in the next card. I'm also not asking anything about the clock pulse nor synchronisation.
Notice that this isn't even a very technical question and as such shouldn't require a too technical answer too, as those I was given earlier. Literally, in the most intuitive sense, when you read "this machine is automatic" you wonder by which means it's automated. The same I'm asking in regards of computers. If you say "the CPU automatically steps through a sequence of always-the-same processes, a loop", I'll be tempted to ask you "How is this loop realised?". This should be a technology invented somewhere in the 50s, because that's about the time people stopped manually plugging/unplugging wires into those room-sized mainframes just to tell the machine to add stuff. As such an old technology, it suggests me it shouldn't be that complicated to understand even for me as a chemistry student. But it also should have been a very revolutionary discover, so it baffles me how I wasn't able to find it anywhere. Is it really that complicated that it's only talked about between engineers?
Thank you very much for reading!