Charles Babbage designs the Difference Engine
The Difference Engine was conceived to aid in the creation
of tables, which were used by the banking and trading industries.
The machine would shorten the length of the work immensely and would require
less manpower. Babbage never actually constructed his Difference
Engine, but laid out an elaborate plan for it. The machine was eventually
completed in 1990 by London’s Science Museum. The completed engine,
made according to Babbage’s plans, worked as he had planned.
Babbage began working on his Analytical Engine, an advanced
version of the Difference Engine, before the Difference Engine was complete.
The analytical engine would have been capable of taking instructions from
punch cards, and would have been the most powerful computer constructed
up to that date. Babbage could not overcome the technical difficulties
of the machine, and it was never constructed. Some historians have
predicted that had he perfected his design, the computer age would have
dawned much sooner. The difference would have been that it
would have been mechanical instead of digital.
Next : 1884 -Herman Hollerith
receives a patent for his automatic punch card tabulator