|"It was at this point, 1834, that
Babbage had an idea for a completely different machine --
one that would operate more rapidly and have far more
extensive powers than the difference engine. He asked the
government whether he should continue with the difference
engine or proceed with the new machine. It was eight
years before the government advised him that regretfully
they must abandon the project. They had spent 17,000
pounds with nothing to show, and Babbage had spent a
comparable amount of his own.
Unable to wait for
the government decision, Babbage started work on the
Analytical Engine, as the new engine was later named. He
did not expect to build this machine nor did he expect
government support. But, he did believe that a machine
with its capabilities would become a reality at a later
date, perhaps based on his completed drawings. The
Analytical Engine was really the "Grand
these abilities sound familiar since they have come to
pass in modern computers. But Babbage was attempting to
carry them out mechanically with no help from electrical
circuits or electronic tubes.
David Weil, Computer Museum of America.
Museum of America.