Experimental asembly for Babbage's Analytical Engine, 1834-1871.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The British computing pioneer Charles Babbage (1791-1871) used trial models for various parts of his Difference and Analytical engines but this is one of the few to have survived. Babbage first conceived the idea of an advanced calculating machine to calculate and print mathematical tables in 1812. His Analytical Engine, conceived by 1834, was designed to evaluate any mathematical formula and to have even higher powers of analysis than his original Difference Engine of the 1820s. It was the first fully-automatic calculating machine, and the first built along modern lines. Babbage is considered to be the 'father' of computing for its invention.