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A Mysterious Advertisement

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129415D
Original Publication Date: 1983-Jan-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 5 page(s) / 90K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

BRIAN RANDELL: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Editor s Note. Brian Flandell submitted the following notes on July 9, 1981, in response to seeing the text of the advertisement mentioned by Garry J. Tee in the preceding article. We invite our readers to provide Randell with any further information.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 19% of the total text.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1983 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

A Mysterious Advertisement

BRIAN RANDELL

(Image Omitted: © 1983 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Permission to copy without fee all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the AFIPS copyright notice and the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires specific permission. Author's Address: Computing Laboratory, The University, Newcastle upon Tyne NEI 7RU, England. Categories and Subject Descriptors: K.2 [History of Computing] -- C. Babbage, hardware, people. General Terms: Design, Experimentation. Additional Keywords and Phrases Difference Engine. © 1983 AFIPS 0164-

1239/83/010060-063

A Mysterious Advertisement

BRIAN RANDELL .00/00)

Editor s Note. Brian Flandell submitted the following notes on July 9, 1981, in response to seeing the text of the advertisement mentioned by Garry J. Tee in the preceding article. We invite our readers to provide Randell with any further information.

1. Introduction

The Babbage papers discovered in New Zealand and Australia by Garry J. Tee (described in the preceding article in this issue) contain one very curious item in Babbage's handwriting, namely the text of an advertisement that appeared in the Times on March 3, 1835. This advertisement reads as follows.

Calculating Machines. The advertiser engages to furnish such machines, having three orders of differences of 5, 4, and 3 places of figures respectively, and capable of calculating any table of 6 places of figures, with the third difference constant. The price of each machine will be 40, and the advertiser will demand no money until the machine is delivered perfect according to the above conditions. Apply, post paid, to Delta, care of Mr. Robertson, Mechanics' Magazine office, Peterborough court.

The present note documents the (meager) results of an investigation prompted by this surprising find.

2. The Investigation

The handwritten text, which is in the Babbage collection at the Wanganui Regional Museum, does not have a date indicating when it was prepared. It was therefore originally thought that the advertisement might have been placed by Babbage himself. However, a letter since found

IEEE Computer Society, Jan 01, 1983 Page 1 IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 5 Number 1, Pages 60-63

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A Mysterious Advertisement

preserved among the Babbage correspondence held in the British Library (Add. MSS 37,189- 41) states:

  (Image Omitted: My Dear Babbage, The advertisement to which I alluded last night is in the Times of Tuesday March the 3rd, front page, 4th column, the 3rd advert...