Parts of an early calculator

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Parts of an early calculator

These brass objects are part of Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine Number 1, an early form of mathematical calculating machine. In his lifetime Babbage invented various forms of the machine but never saw them completed due to lack of funds.

These pieces were donated to the museum by Babbage in 1869 during a visit to Exeter. He had lived in Devon as a child and attended school in Alphington. They were among the earliest items donated to the museum, which had opened the previous year.