1822: The Difference Engine

English mathematician Charles Babbage was tired of typographical errors in his books of mathematical tables. These books had lists of pre-computed numbers, which were used in navigation, astronomy, and statistics. Babbage drew up the design for the Difference Engine, a mechanical calculator that could produce these tables automatically. While his design was good, the engine was very expensive to make.

“At each increase of knowledge… human labour becomes abridged.” Charles Babbage (1791–1871), English mathematician and inventor.

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