The invention of the computer all began with a man who had a vision to change the country. His name was Charles Babbage, and he was the first person to create a digital mechanical computer engine. In 1821, Babbage began to build a small demonstration model of a mechanical calculator named "The Difference Engine". This invention was designed:
with a number of gears for performing two operations: addition and subtraction.
without the capability to perform multiplication and division, which were a lot more difficult to carry out.
Babbage's demonstration model thoroughly worked quite well, so he chose to make the final full frame version, known as the "Difference Engine". This machine included:
the power to go up to 20 decimal places.
the ability to produce hard copy inked printout on paper as a checking copy but also automatically compresses the result on soft material.
Unfortunately, Babbage did not have the courage and strength to overcome the difficulties associated with creating the full-frame "Difference Engine". However, this did not impede with Babbage's plans to invent the "perfect" engine, which would develop into the "Analytical Engine". Unlike the former "Difference Engine", the "Analytical Engine" was programmable and followed instructions from a series of punch cards. Furthermore, this Engine had a store and a mill, where intermediate results were held and the arithmetic processing was executed, respectively.
Babbage continued working on his "Analytical Engine" until the end of his life. He isolated himself, filling in notebook after notebook with hundreds of notes and ideas. Unfortunately, in 1871, he died without attaining his goal of making a complete engine. Even so Babbage is widely-recognized throughout the US and the rest of the world for designing the main elements of the modern computer, which included the central processor, memory and data organization. His work had a great impact on our society by opening the way to future inventions in computing.
Follow these video-links to know more about Babbage's life and work: