[squeak-dev] The Old Man

karl karl.ramberg at comhem.se
Sun Mar 30 22:49:24 UTC 2008

Marcus Denker wrote:
> "One of the sad memories of my life is a visit to the celebrated 
> mathematician and inventor, Mr Babbage. He was far advanced in age, 
> but his mind was still as vigorous as ever. He took me through his 
> work-rooms. In the first room I saw parts of the original Calculating 
> Machine, which had been shown in an incomplete state many years before 
> and had even been put to some use. I asked him about its present form. 
> 'I have not finished it because in working at it I came on the idea of 
> my Analytical Machine, which would do all that it was capable of doing 
> and much more. Indeed, the idea was so much simpler that it would have 
> taken more work to complete the Calculating Machine than to design and 
> construct the other in its entirety, so I turned my attention to the 
> Analytical Machine.'"
> "After a few minutes' talk, we went into the next work-room, where he 
> showed and explained to me the working of the elements of the 
> Analytical Machine. I asked if I could see it. 'I have never completed 
> it,' he said, 'because I hit upon an idea of doing the same thing by a 
> different and far more effective method, and this rendered it useless 
> to proceed on the old lines.' Then we went into the third room. There 
> lay scattered bits of mechanism, but I saw no trace of any working 
> machine. Very cautiously I approached the subject, and received the 
> dreaded answer, 'It is not constructed yet, but I am working on it, 
> and it will take less time to construct it altogether than it would 
> have token to complete the Analytical Machine from the stage in which 
> I left it.' I took leave of the old man with a heavy heart."
> --    Lord Moulton
> -- 
> Marcus Denker  --  denker at iam.unibe.ch
> http://www.iam.unibe.ch/~denker
Made me think of the story of John Harrison, but he succeeded...


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