Was the computer invented in the 1800s?


Charles Babbage

Charles Babbage


No man in history was more ahead of his time than Charles Babbage, according to Richard Frisch, a technology expert who will give a talk on Babbage on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Mark Twain Library.

Part of the library’s Allen and Helen Hermes Arts Series, the talk on Babbage is a story of genius, creativity, invention, personal loss, and failure. Babbage was a brilliant polymath: mathematician, philosopher, scientist, economist, inventor, and much more, Frisch said.

“Contrary to the belief Alan Turing invented the digital computer during World War II, as popularized in the movie The Imitation Game, Babbage invented it over a century earlier,” Frisch said.

Babbage revolutionized mechanical computation in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, inventing two incredible calculating engines and a mechanical general-purpose, programmable computer.

Frisch, a graduate of Duke and Harvard universities, is the chief technology officer for Karlinsky LLC, a New York City-based law firm. He also runs RHFtech, a tech support firm for small businesses, and he manages Weston’s Government Access TV Channel 79. Frisch began working with computers in 1972. He worked for more than 30 years in the financial services industry, and was part of the team at Citicorp that developed the modern ATM in the mid-1970s.

Please register for this program online at www.marktwainlibrary.org at the library, or call 203-938-2545.

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  • Alexander Gray

    You are so wrong Mr. Frisch!

    Have you ever heard of the Antikythera mechanism found and recovered in 1900–1901 from the Antikythera shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera. Believed to have been designed and constructed by Greek scientists, the instrument has been dated either between 150 and 100 BC, or, according to a more recent view, at 205 BC. After the knowledge of this technology was lost at some point in Antiquity, technological artifacts approaching its complexity and workmanship did not appear again until the development of mechanical astronomical clocks in Europe in the fourteenth century. All known fragments of the Antikythera mechanism are kept at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. This is the earliest known example of a working mechanical computer and many attribute its design and capability to Archimedes who was killed in 212 BC by a Roman solder.

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