Difference Engine No.2, designed by Charles Babbage, 1847-1849, built by Science Museum, first completed June 1991, printing mechanism constructed and added in 2002
Charles Babbage - inventor, reformer, mathematician and philosopher - designed the Difference Engine No.2 to solve equations and print the results in the form of mathematical tables. It was one of two types of engine, difference engines and analytical engines, designed by Babbage. The engine was built by the Science Museum and the main part was completed in June 1991 for the bicentennial year of Babbage's birth. The printing mechanism was completed and added in 2002. Doron Swade, senior curator of computing and IT, oversaw its construction. Babbage conceived the engine to calculate a series of numerical values and automatically print the results. Difference Engine No 2 was never constructed in his lifetime.