Scheutz Difference Engine No 3, 1859.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This engine was a means of eliminating errors of calculation, transcription and printing, by producing multiple copies when printing log tables. Father and son, George and Edvard Scheutz, built a Difference Engine, based on the ideas of British computing pioneer Charles Babbage, with the numbers impresed into papier mache or metal strips. These were then used as moulds from which multiple copies of the results could be printed. The engine was bought in 1859, and in 1864 was used by the General Register Office to produce the 'English Life Table', life asurance tables.