Charles Babbage

Inventor of the programmable computer

Background Knowledge of Charles Babbage

Charles Babbage was born on December 26, 1791. He was born in London, England. His fields were mathematics, engineering, political economy, and computer science. Babbage was one of four children. He died on October 18, 1871 and he was aged 79.


Babbage was very curious at an early age, because whenever he got a new toy, he always asked his mother what was inside of it. At the age of 8, Babbage was sent to a country school in Alphington near Exeter to recover from a life-threatening fever. For a short time, Babbage went to Kind Edward VI Grammar School in Totnes, South Devon. But, his health required for him to recieve his early education from private tutors. In 1810, he entered Trinity College at Cambridge University. There, he found out that he knew more about mathematics than his professor. Then, Babbage helped organize the Analytical Society. In 1814, he graduated.


In 1814, the same year Babbage graduated, he married the love of his life, Georgiana Whitmore. They had 8 children together, but only 3 lived beyond childhood. In 1822, Babbage conducted the first model of the calculating engine, which would become the main interest of his life. Babbage's device made the government interested, and made a promise to fund his research. This encouraged Babbage to begin making a full-scale machine. Babbage didn't have the tools to shape the wheels, gears, and cranks of the engine. So, his craftsmen and him had to design the tools themselves. Since there was a delay for making his machine, Georgiana died in 1827.

About Babbage's Inventions

In 1822, when Babbage produced the first model of the calculating engine, it would become the main interest of his life. The machine calculated and printed mathematical tables. Babbage called this machine the "difference engine" after the mathematical theory upon which the machine's operation was based.