The Babbage Difference Engine

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Computer History Museum has a copy of the Babbage Difference Engine built in London.
The machine does what its designer intended and it does it well.  This is beautiful machine, elegant and complex, it embodies one of my prime Steampunk aesthetics, that the workings of machines are beautiful as well as functional.
Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

The Babbage Engine at The Computer History Museum
Charles Babbage (1791-1871), computer pioneer, designed the first automatic computing engines. He invented computers but failed to build them. The first complete Babbage Engine was completed in London in 2002, 153 years after it was designed. Difference Engine No. 2, built faithfully to the original drawings, consists of 8,000 parts, weighs five tons, and measures 11 feet long.
We invite you to learn more about this extraordinary object, its designer Charles Babbage and the team of people who undertook to build it. Discover the wonder of a future already passed. A sight no Victorian ever saw.
An identical Engine completed in March 2008 is on display at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.
Here is the engine in action.



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