Back in the early 1800’s an English chap by the name of Charles Babbage
started toying with the idea of machines that could calculate complex mathematical tables to eliminate the possibility of human error when performing these calculations by hand.
Babbage drew up plans for such a device – the Difference Engine
- but never got around to actually building one.
In 1991 the London Science Museum completed a replica of Babbage’s Difference Engine
to celebrate the 200 year anniversary of his birth. In 2000 they also built the printer (yes a printer) he designed to complete the project.
Tim Robinson from the Computer History Museum in Mountain View California
built his own, fully functional, version of the Babbage Difference Engine
out of Meccano
which he had on display at Maker Faire this year to help promote the museum's Babbage Engine Exhibit which is open now