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"Trial piece for Babbage's Difference Engine No 2, 1985-91."

"Exton, David"

3 4 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 26cm


"Difference Engine No 2 was constructed by the Science Museum in London from drawings made by the British computing pioneer Charles Babbage (1791-1871) between 1847 and 1849. This trial piece was constructed by the Science Museum to verify the design of the basic adding element. A small section of the calulating part was built to test the basic logic of the design and to explore the manufacturing techniques for the full-scale engine. It is manually operated by lifting and turning the axes from above a fixed sequence, whereas the full-scale machine performs the calculating cycle automatically. Babbage conceived the engine to calculate a series of numerical values and automatically print the results but it was never constructed in his lifetime. "

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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