By far the oldest of the common law devices for taking a case away from a jury is the demurrer upon evidence. A reported instance of its use appears as early as 1456.
Charles H. King,
TRIAL PRACTICE-DEMURRER UPON EVIDENCE AS A DEVICE FOR TAKING A CASE FROM THE JURY,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol44/iss3/7