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150-Year-Old Computer Brought to Life [Slideshow]

A Silicon Valley museum brings inventor, philosopher and alleged music hater Charles Babbage's computing contraption to life

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EXCLUSIVE COLLECTION:

Exhibited for the first time in North America, this is one of only two Babbage Difference Engine No. 2 devices ever built.....[ More ]

PRINTING PROCESS:

The engine's printing apparatus automatically typesets, prints and stereotypes results.....[ More ]

IT FIGURES:

Part of one of eight columns of figure wheels. There are a total of 248 similar interlocking wheels in Difference Engine No. 2.....[ More ]

CHAPTER WHEEL:

The engine's "chapter wheel," cranked by hand, calculates polynomial functions to 31 decimal places producing one result for each of the engine's cycles. The chapter wheel shows the subdivisions of the cycle.....[ More ]

CARRY THE 10:

Section of the backside of Difference Engine No. 2 showing a portion of the mechanism for carrying tens.....[ More ]

BLUEPRINT:

Babbage's Table of Logarithms of the Natural Numbers, and one of the design drawings from which Doron Swade, director of the Babbage exhibit at the Computer History Museum, masterminded the construction of the Difference Engines at the Science Museum in London.....[ More ]

VIVE LA DIFFÉRENCE!:

Charles Babbage's Difference Engine No. 2, designed in the late 1840s, weighs five tons, is 11 feet (3.4 meters) long and seven feet (2.1 meters) high, and has 8,000 bronze, cast iron and steel parts.....[ More ]

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