Analytical engine constructed by the late Chas. Babbage, F.R.S., (this was not put together when received and there are still many pieces, moulds etc. received in 1878, on exhibition in the gallery)
Charles Babbage's calculating engines are among the most celebrated icons in the prehistory of computing. His Difference Engine No. 1 was the first successful automatic calculator and remains one of the finest examples of precision engineering of the time. The portion shown was assembled in 1832 by Babbage's engineer, Joseph Clement. It consists of about 2000 parts and represents one-seventh of the complete engine. This 'finished portion of the unfinished engine' was demonstrated to some acclaim by Babbage, and functions impeccably to this day. The engine was never completed and most of the 12 000 parts manufactured were later melted for scrap.
This analytical engine, the first fully-automatic calculating machine, was constructed by British computing pioneer Charles Babbage (1791-1871), who first conceived the idea of an advanced calculating machine to calculate and print mathematical tables in 1812. Conceived by him in 1834, this machine was designed to evaluate any mathematical formula and to have even higher powers of analysis than his original Difference engine of the 1820s. Only part of the machine as a trial piece was completed before Babbage's death in 1871.
- Science Museum, Mathematics: The Winton Gallery
- Computing & Data Processing
- Object Number:
- analytical engines
- Major-General Babbage
- Permanent collection
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