Charles Babbage, British mathematician and computing pioneer, c 1860.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Photograph of Babbage seated, holding a book. In the 1820s, Babbage (1791-1871) began to develop a 'Difference Engine' which could perform simple mathematical calculations. His detailed 1834 plans of the 'Analytical Engine' showed it to be the first calculating engine to incorporate features that are found in modern computers. It is for this reason that he is said to be the 'father' of computing. However, lack of funding meant his engines were not fully constructed during his lifetime.