Babbage - The Father of Computers
invented the first computer? And when?
The answer will surprise you: it was Charles Babbage, in the year 1832.
Babbage, who was born in London in 1791,
was a great
He was a natural inventor, and invented
sorts of new products.
When he finished school, he went to
mathematics at Cambridge University. Later, he got a job teaching at
the university ; and while Professor of
Mathematics in this illustrious university, he designed his "first
This was, basically, a hand-operated mechanical calculator.
He took nine years to build a part of
This machine, which is in the London Science Museum, can make complex
mathematical calculations. It is a basic mechanical computer.
however of more complicated machines. In fact, he did
only dream; he began to design them. The result was a series of
"analytical engines" which were in fact powerful computers!
His designs contained processors (he
called them "mills"), control units, a memory (he called it a
), and an
input/output system. These are the four essential parts of a modern
Alas, Babbage was born 100 years too
"second difference engine" could not use electricity, since this had
yet become a usable source of power; so Babbage had to make do with
mechanical systems. For this reason, the machine was big and very
and very expensive. Though Babbage produced complete plans for
the machine, he could not build it. It was too sophisticated for its
It was not until almost 160 years later
that Babbage's "second difference engine" was finally manufactured. The
version of this machine was built by the Science Museum in London, for
the Babbage bicentenary
in 1991. It can now be seen at the Museum; a second machine
then built for an American high-tech millionnaire, who put it in the
Computer History Museum, in Mountain View, California.
analytical engines would have used "programmes" like those used in the
textile industry to make complicated patterns; but they were never
built. This brilliant mathematician really was too far ahead of his
clever person - engine
strong - store
make do with:
nothing except - working
operating, functioning - bicentenary
for the Firefox
© Linguapress. Do not copy
this document to any other website
Copying permitted for personal study, or by teachers for use with their
explain, in English, the following words and expressions?
- an inventor
- a university
- a memory
- mechanical systems
- a museum
- a millionnaire
- the textile industry