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Comments, Queries, and Debate: Babbage's Friend Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129659D
Original Publication Date: 1990-Mar-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 1 page(s) / 12K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Donald Watts Davies: AUTHOR [+2]


15 Hawkewood Road Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex TW16 6HL Great Britain

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Copyright ©; 1990 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Comments, Queries, and Debate: Babbage's Friend

Donald Watts Davies

15 Hawkewood Road Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex TW16 6HL Great Britain

In biographies of Babbage, the name Dionysus Lardner often appears in connection with the Royal Society, with railway engineering, with his article on the Difference Engine, and as a popular and effective lecturer. He was also rather a rogue, and whenever he had original ideas, they were usually unsound. Babbage tried to protect him from some of his follies.

A famous and successful playwright and actor of the period 1840-1890 was Dion Boucicault. He wrote 120 plays and some were great commercial successes. His London Assurance is soon to appear again in London's West End. His full name was Dionysius Lardner Boucicault, derived from his mother's absent husband Bousiquot (Huguenot origin) and his mother's lodger -- Dr. Dionysius Lardner. At one point in his life Dion worked briefly for Dr. Lardner as an apprentice civil engineer on a railway line to Harrow.

Surely this must be the same Lardner, spelling apart, and guessing that "Dion" was the lodger's son, some of his father's character appears in his career of alternate riches and bankruptcy.

It is a remote connection with Babbage and computing, but Babbage had so many interesting colleagues and friends. Perh...