Babbage's Difference Engine and other historic computers

Babbage Difference Engine No. 2

Charles Babbage designed the first automatic computing engines, but none of his creations was ever fully built.

In 2002, London's Science Museum completed the first fully-functional Difference Engine. A duplicate machine was constructed for Nathan Myhrvold, tech millionaire and former chief technology officer at Microsoft. That second machine is on display at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.

The photos in this gallery were taken by Jitze Couperus in January, 2010 during a visit to the museum. Mr. Couperus has graciously allowed us to republish his photos of Babbage's Difference Engine and Royal McBee LGP-30 and Control Data Corporation (CDC) 6600.

Photo credit: Jitze Couperus


Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...