Monday, June 1, 2020

Spring 2020 report to the Computer Conservation Society

Presented by Doron Swade on Thursday 14 May 2020 to the Computer Conservation Society

The Babbage technical archive held by the Science Museum has been reviewed sheet by sheet so the reference sources of AE-related content are now known. After a short hiatus Tim Robinson is carrying out the same exercise on the Babbage material in the Buxton papers held in Oxford. This material is of particular interest not least because there are several essays Babbage wrote on the Analytical Engine while in Italy immediately after his visit to Turin in 1840 where he gave his first and only seminar-lecture on the Analytical Engine at a convention of mathematicians, surveyors and scientists. This rare engagement with others was a significant stimulus to Babbage so his writings immediately following this are of special interest. We have done two substantial photo shoots (2015, 2016 and 2018) of this manuscript material, so digitised images are to hand. Part of the difficulty with is that the manuscripts are unsympathetically bound (text lost in the binding gutters), some material is undated, and the manuscripts are not bound in chronological order. We are also currently planning on the best way to document the findings so far, for wider dissemination - this a lesson learned from the material left by the late Allan Bromley who regrettably published only a small part of his deep understanding of the AE design.

Doron Swade