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