This Day in History: January 21

      January 2017
Today: September 25, 2017
Babbage's Analytical Engine Passes the First Test
Fragment of Babbage's Difference Engine

January 21, 1888

Babbage's Analytical Engine Passes the First Test

The Analytical Engine of Charles Babbage was never completed in his lifetime, but his son Henry Provost Babbage built the mill portion of the machine from his father's drawings, and on January 21, 1888, computed multiples of pi to prove the adequacy of the design. Perhaps this represents the first successful test of a portion of a modern computer. Recently a portion of his earlier machine, the Difference Engine, was sold at auction by Christie's of London to the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia.