Babbage Difference Engine

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--How's this for a computer: 8,000 parts, 5 tons, 11 feet long and 7 feet tall. Meet the Babbage Difference Engine.

This one, Difference Engine No. 2, was built for former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, who donated it to the Computer History Museum here.

Photo by: Scott Ard/CNET

2

Precision engineering has resulted in a breathtakingly beautiful calculator that was intended--when conceived in the 1840s--to be driven by steam.
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3

Senior Docent Tim Robinson explains why a printer was a crucial piece of the machine.
Photo by: Scott Ard/CNET

4

When creating math tables, errors were commonly introduced at the printing stage so having a printer built right into the machine eliminated another opportunity for human error.
Photo by: Scott Ard/CNET
Form and function.
Photo by: Scott Ard/CNET

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The engine and man in motion.
Photo by: Scott Ard/CNET

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