Charles Babbage (1791 – 1871) was a famous English polymath. He worked on algorithms and automation, on life insurance, on cryptology and in many other fields. He was holder of Newton’s chair at Cambridge.
As a natural philosopher he published studies on glacier formation and climate dynamics. He has been known as the inventor of the cow catcher, and the ophthalmoscope.
Charles Babbage was also a political economist. He wrote on the division of labor and described the Babbage principle.
Still today we admire his works on data quality and fraud with data.
His most famous inventions were the Difference Engine and the Analytical Engine, the first programmable mechanical computers.
Copying nautical or logarithmic tables is tedious work and even more prone to errors. The English mathematician Charles Babbage therefore suggested to the British Admiralty to build a machine for this purpose. Inspired by the new mechanical looms and by the development of automata in the emerging watchmaking industry. He combined rollers and cams in order to apply mathematical operations, which always remained the same, to different initial values with constant precision. He thus created the first, still purely mechanical calculators in the 19th century. They are the precursors of today’s computers. Ada Lovelace developed the programs to run these machines. s are created that can also reproduce irregular movements as well as forward and backward movements. Babbage clocks are, in a sense, ‘non-linear’ clocks. Their microprocessors open up elements of complex rules (algorithms) to modern haute horlogerie, that we know otherwise from computers.