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The Original
Analytical Engine

The Diogenes Club:  Mr. Charles Babbage
The Diogenes Club:  Ada Byron Augusta, Countess of Lovelace
Mr. Charles Babbage
1792-1871
Ada Byron Augusta
Countess of Lovelace
1815-1852
In 1837, Mr. Charles Babbage, Lucasian Professor of Mathematicas at Cambridge, Fellow of the Royal Society and co-founder of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Astronomical Society, and the Statistical Society of London. began research into the Analytical Engine, a mechanical digital computer which was the true precursor to today's computer's.  Babbage resigned this professorship in 1839 to devote full attention to the Analytical Engine, envisioned as a mechanical inspiration of great minds of the Victorian age.  Unfortunately, backers for this steam-powered, brass-instrument wonder did not materialize and the machine was never completely finished in his lifetime.  Augusta Ada Byron, daughter of Lord Byron, was estranged from her father due to divorcement.  Her mother strove to influence her daughter away from a "poetic" bent and Ada, being rather "mathematical" and not very poetic at all, went along.  She was an unusual combination of art and science and met Mr. Charles Babbage at a dinner party.  Their conversation, including references to Babbage's Analytical Engine, intrigued Ada and this interest turned to a flurry of letters and communications which eventually led to Ada's suggestion to Babbage that he write a plan for how the engine might calculate Bernoulli numbers. Babbage suggested that she do this and this plan, is now regarded as the first "computer program."
The Diogenes Club:  Mr. Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine
Sherlock Holmes, especially, and Doctor Watson would have been aware of the existence of Babbage's plans for the Analytical Engine, however, it was not until the printing of:
From Baker Street to Binary 
          by Henry Ledgard, E. Patrick McQuaid and Andrew Singer
Elementary Basic 
          by Henry Ledgard and Andrew Singer 

                      and 
Elementary Pascal
          by Henry Ledgard and Andrew Singer
that Sherlockians were aware of the extent of their knowledge of this machine.  Scans of the covers of these educational pastiches are pictured below.  For more in depth information about the Original Analytical Engine, please review the information found in these books and by selecting the link on the Analytical Engine graphic, above.
The Diogenes Club:  From Baker Street to Binary
The Diogenes Club:  Elementary Basic
The Diogenes Club:  Elementary Pascal

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