London: Macmillan and Co., 1909. 1st Edition. BOUND FIRST EDITION OF RARE DESCRIPTION OF LUDGATE’S ANALYTICAL ENGINE; FULL VOLUME WITH ORIGINAL WRAPS BOUND IN.
In 1909, working entirely on his own and only as a ‘hobbyist’, completely unaware of Charles Babbage’s designs, Dublin accountant P. E. Ludgate (1883-1922) designed an Analytical Engine — an original universal calculating machine. However there are only two sources of information regarding Ludgate’s machine — his initial brief description in the April 1909 Scientific Proceedings of the Royal Dublin Society and the description offered here by C. V. Boys in the July 1909 issue of Nature.
Charles Babbage (1791-1871) designed two classes of engine, Difference Engines which are, essentially, strictly calculators, and Analytical Engines — far more than calculators, they marked the progression from the mechanized arithmetic of calculation to full fledged computation. Though he never lived to see the Analytical Engine he designed built, Babbage defined an Analytical Engine as: “A machine to give us the same control over the executive which we have hitherto only possessed over the legislative department of mathematics” (Babbage, Passages From the Life, 129).
Ludgate’s and Boys’ papers show the engine to be “functionally very similar to that of Babbage, with storage for 192 numbers of 20 digits. [with numbers] to be represented by the transverse displacements of pegs held in small ‘shuttles’ (Hartley, Mini and Microcomputer Systems, 265). Ludgate’s engine employed rods similar to slide rules and used multiplication as its base mechanism rather than addition as did Babbage’s.
Sir Charles Vernon Boys (1855-1944) was a British physicist respected for his careful and innovative work (MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive).
ALSO INCLUDED IN THIS VOLUME: John G. McKendrick’s “Further Experiments with the Gramophone,” pp. 488-490. Item #811
CONDITION & DETAILS: London: Macmillan and Co., Volume 81 (July to October 1909). 4to (11 x 7.75 inches; 275 x 194mm). 540pp. Complete volume with original wraps to the Boys' paper, No. 2070, bound in at the end. Ex-libris bearing the usual markings on the front (pictorial bookplate) and rear ffp; small gilt numbers at the foot of the spine; the front wrap has a small uninked stamp at the foot of the front wrap. Handsomely bound in half-calf over marbled paper boards. Tightly and solidly bound; some rubbing and scuffing at the edges of the spine and boards. Marbled endpapers. Interior is bright and clean throughout. Very good condition.