Calculating MachinesMaker Index
Calculating machines were known by the names of inventor (Baldwin, Barbour, Bolleé, Grant), famous mathematicians (Archimedes), desired characteristics (Millionaire, Rapid), and investors (Monroe). The following list makes it easier to see related products. Trade names are used instead of company names as these show up most frequently on objects.
"Calculating Machines - Maker Index" showing 1 items.
- This is a replica of the portion of a difference engine built by Charles Babbage in 1832. Babbage, an English mathematician, hoped to compute and to print astronomical tables by machine. He proposed to estimate the value of functions using polynomials, and to use the method of finite distances to compute results.
- Babbage never completed either a difference engine or a more complex, programmable instrument he dubbed an analytical engine.
- The machine has three columns of discs. The leftmost column has six discs, each with the numbers from 0 to 9. The middle column has seven discs. The six lower ones each have the digits from 0 to 9. The uppermost disc is marked as indicated. The rightmost column has five discs numbered from 0 to 9. Above these are four discs, similarly numbered, that are immediately adjacent to one another. On the top of the machine are a gear train and a handle. The machine has a metal framework and a wooden base. The replica has containers for springs, but no springs.
- The overall dimensions include the handle. Without it, the dimensions are: 59 cm. w. x 43.5 cm. d. x 72 cm. h.
- The replica was built for display in the first exhibition devoted to mathematics and computing at the Museum of History and Technology (now the National Museum of American History). A similar replica is in the collections of IBM Corporation.
- The original on which this replica is based is at the Science Museum in London. That museum also displays a more recent attempt to build a working version of Babbage’s difference engine.
- Merzbach, Uta C., Georg Scheutz and the First Printing Calculator, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1977.
- Swade, Doron. The Difference Engine: Charles Babbage and the Quest to Build the First Computer, New York: Viking, 2000.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- ca 1963
- date received
- Daniel I. Hadley & Associates
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center