The lower part of Babbage's Difference Engine No 2, 1991.

The lower part of Babbage's Difference Engine No 2, 1991.
3 0 c m
40cm
actual image size: 32cm x 22cm

Description

Detail of the area responsible for the lifting and turning of the axes. British computing pioneer Charles Babbage (1791-1871) designed Engine No 2 between 1847 and 1849, as part of his attempt to mechanise the production of mathematical tables. Difference Engine No 2 was never constructed in Babbage's lifetime. Factors cited include his allegedly difficult personality, unconvincing progres, disputes with his engineer, Joseph Clement, political instability, the eventual withdrawal of government funding, and limitations in Victorian machine tool technology. The Science Museum began construction of Difference Engine No 2 in 1985, and the calculating section was completed in 1991 for the bicentennial of Babbage's birth.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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