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Babbage difference engine No. 2 now operational Answered

Moon-mad steampunk engineers have constructed Charles Babbage's Difference Engine No. 2 from the master's original plans. It is now on display at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., after being completed last month.

"The first complete Babbage Engine was completed in London in 2002, 153 years after it was designed. Difference Engine No. 2, built faithfully to the original drawings, consists of 8,000 parts, weighs five tons, and measures 11 feet long. We invite you to learn more about this extraordinary object, its designer Charles Babbage and the team of people who undertook to build it. Discover the wonder of a future already passed. A sight no Victorian ever saw."

Online Exhibit

11 Replies

user
westfw (author)2008-05-05

Does it use one of these?

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user
Goodhart (author)2008-05-05

BTW: the link doesn't work, at least, not for me. I think this here link is the original article.

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user
kington99 (author)2008-05-05

very nice, I remember seeing no.1 nearing completion in the Science Museum

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Brennn10 (author)2008-05-03

Neat! It is truly amazing how far engines have progressed over the years.

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T3h_Muffinator (author)Brennn102008-05-03

Hehe yes it is! This is what an engine of this type looks like now: (from wwu.edu)

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Goodhart (author)T3h_Muffinator2008-05-03

actually the little one you show does a LOT more :-)

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T3h_Muffinator (author)Goodhart2008-05-03

Yeah, I know. I figured it'd be appropriate though (I'm pretty sure Brennn over here thought it was an internal combustion engine).

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Brennn10 (author)T3h_Muffinator2008-05-04

Yea, I thought it was a combustion engine. Now, I have that thing in the front pocket of my backpack!

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Goodhart (author)Brennn102008-05-04

Well, where I work, they had punch cards up until about 12 years ago. You should have seen the inside of the card interpreter; resistors were made of carbon back when they were built, and were as thick as your little finger and nearly as long as your thumb. :-) The mechanism, physically sensed (with wire "brushes") the holes in the cards, and mechanically printed the letters/numbers across the top. Talk about a Rube-Goldburg machine LOL It was fascinating to watch operate though.

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user
Gjdj3 (author)T3h_Muffinator2008-05-04

So did I at first. Lol. Then I googled it. Thanks for the clarification though.

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Goodhart (author)2008-05-03

Yeah, I saw this earlier on my news feed, very "retro" :-) But I bet a lot of fellows based solely in todays "technology" would have troubles building this "rube-goldberg" type machine.

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