Category Archives: History of Computing


The Greatest Machine That Never Was

The computer was invented in the 30s: not the 1930s, but the 1830s. British mathematician Charles Babbage designed and prototyped a fully functional mechanical computer he called the Analytical Engine, but it was never completed. Now a team in Britain plans to build the machine for display at London’s Science Museum before the 2030s come around.

Building Babbage’s Analytical Engine

Computer Experts Building 1830s Babbage Analytical Engine:

A fascinating project to construct the Analytical Engine, a “room-size mechanical behemoth” that Charles Babbage (1791-1871) envisioned, and partly designed, but never built. See the Interactive Feature “Before-Its-Time Machine”. The project team, led by John Graham-Cumming, a programmer, and Doron Swade, a former curator at the Science Museum in London, have digitized Babbage’s surviving blueprints but are relying on crowd-sourcing to determine exactly what should be built. Plans will be posted online next year, and the public will be invited to offer suggestions. Sounds like fun!