Difference Engine unboxed at Silicon Valley Computer Museum

Wired's got a fantastic photoset of the unboxing of a freshly built Difference Engine, constructed to Charles Babbage's 1822 blueprints for a mechanical calculator of then-unheard-of sophistication:

But Babbage never completed it. It took engineers and curators at London's Science Museum almost six years of work to bring Babbage's 20 pages of blueprints to life in 1991.

Now, thanks to Microsoft multimillionaire Nathan Myhrvold, a second Difference Engine has been built and delivered to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, where trained docents will turn its brass handle to crank out the calculations Babbage dreamed of automating.


(via JWZ)