Monday, 15 February 2016

Babbage at Wroughton

Last Wednesday, 10th February 2016, Stephen and Olivia went to Wroughton, the reserve collection of the Science Museum to look at examples of the Babbage collection.

The papers held by the Science Museum Library and Archives relate principally to Charles Babbage’s calculating engines. They consist of most of the surviving technical material relating to his designs for automatic calculating machines such as the Difference Engines and the Analytical Engine. The archive contains three types of material:

  1. Babbage’s notebooks 
  2. engineering drawings 
  3. notations, which are principally 'walk throughs' or 'traces' of micro-programs for various models or plans of the Analytical Engine.

The collection is unusual in that a large portion of it has been digitised - which is where we come in.  What kinds of sense can be made from this heterogeneous material, what stories can it tell?

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