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Babbage Difference Engine

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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.

Caption by / Photo by Scott Ard/CNET
Precision engineering has resulted in a breathtakingly beautiful calculator that was intended--when conceived in the 1840s--to be driven by steam.
Caption by / Photo by Scott Ard/CNET
Senior Docent Tim Robinson explains why a printer was a crucial piece of the machine.
Caption by / Photo by Scott Ard/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Scott Ard/CNET
Form and function.
Caption by / Photo by Scott Ard/CNET
The engine and man in motion.
Caption by / Photo by Scott Ard/CNET
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