Glory and failure : the difference engines of Johann Müller, Charles Babbage and Georg and Edvard Scheutz (Book, 1990) [WorldCat.org]
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Glory and failure : the difference engines of Johann Müller, Charles Babbage and Georg and Edvard Scheutz
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Glory and failure : the difference engines of Johann Müller, Charles Babbage and Georg and Edvard Scheutz

Author: Michael Lindgren
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, ©1990.
Series: MIT Press series in the history of computing.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : [2nd ed.]View all editions and formats
Summary:
The first attempts to mechanize the production of numerical tables were remarkable in conception coming at a time when a "computer" was in fact a person rather than a machine. This book is the first to provide a unified picture of the difference engines that were the mechanical predecessors of today's digital computer, to emphasize them as part of the history of numerical tables, and to give equal weight to the  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Michael Lindgren
ISBN: 0262121468 9780262121460
OCLC Number: 21376888
Description: 414 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm.
Contents: Numerical tables : a historical background --
The Utopian invention --
The method of differences --
The Difference Engine No. 1 --
Georg Scheutz : auditor, journalist and inventor --
The transfer of technology --
Edvard Scheutz and the first engine --
The second engine --
The third engine --
A comparison between Scheutz' and Babbage's engines --
Babbage's failure analyzed --
Why was the Scheutz engine not a commercial success? --
Epilogue --
Appendix 1 : Rediscovery and restoration --
Appendix 2 : Distribution list --
Appendix 3 : Berzelius' statement --
Bibliography.
Series Title: MIT Press series in the history of computing.
Responsibility: Michael Lindgren ; translation by Craig G. McKay.

Abstract:

The first attempts to mechanize the production of numerical tables were remarkable in conception coming at a time when a "computer" was in fact a person rather than a machine. This book is the first to provide a unified picture of the difference engines that were the mechanical predecessors of today's digital computer, to emphasize them as part of the history of numerical tables, and to give equal weight to the technical and social aspects of their creation. Lindgren analyzes the difference engines of Müller and Babbage and the mathematical principles on which they are based, tells the story of how Georg and Edvard Scheutz learned about Babbage's engine, discusses the design and operation of the Scheutzs' machine, and tells why Babbage failed technically and the Scheutzes failed commercially. The often detailed technical descriptions bring to light the inventors' own ways of thinking as work on the engines progressed. - Publisher.

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