If Babbage Had Just Lived Another 140 Years

Charles Babbage Wikimedia Commons

Oh Chuck. Don’t you hate it when a good idea hits too early?

We know you were a mathematician, mechanical engineer, and philosopher. You cracked codes, invented the cow catcher, and developed an opthalmoscope. You were a curmudgeon who railed against organ grinders and hoop rolling.  Maybe that grumpy outlook had to do with your forward thinking design of the computer, a mechanical behemoth that was never built in your lifetime.

But your luck has changed, posthumously. In 1991, your Difference Engine No. 2 was made to your specs by the Science Museum in London. And now the musuem plans to build your Analytical Engine, a multimillion dollar project anticipated to require ten years.

The project may prove that you are truly the father of today’s computer. But even if it doesn’t, take heart. Organ grinders and hoop rolling have been successfully banished from today’s streets.

 

 

Laura is the author of a poetry collection titled Tending and Free Range Learning, a handbook of natural learning. She lives on a small farm notable only for its lovestruck goose.