Hardware

Babbage's Difference Engine and other historic computers

Output printer

Babbage designed the machine to produce printed mathematical tables. Difference Engine No. 2 has an output printer that prints each 31 digit results in ink. The machines also imprints the results in a soft material (such as plaster). The plaster cast would then be used to make a printing plate.

Photo credit: Jitze Couperus

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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...