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Computer History Museum unboxes a Babbage difference engine

Nilay Patel
04.21.08
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Not too many people go to science museums and place orders, but former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold was apparently so impressed with the London Science Museum's replica of Charles Babbage's difference engine he commissioned a $1M duplicate, which was just recently delivered to California's Computer History Museum for a six-month stay. The nine-foot-tall machine has nearly 8,000 parts, many of which were hand-filed, and suffered months of delays while under construction due to the tight tolerances required to make it work -- but it's here now, and it's ready to start cranking out polynomials at the rate of one per six seconds. Bring it on, IBM. Check the read link for way more pics of the unboxing, which took hours and ended in applause.

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