Charles Babbage was born in Teignmouth, Devon, in 1791. Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, he spent most of his life trying to build calculating machines. The first of these was designed to calculate tables of logarithms and similar functions by repeated addition performed by gear wheels. A small prototype model of the difference engine was produced in 1822 and this resulted in him receiving a government grant to build a full-sized machine.
Influenced by the work of Joseph Jacquard in France, Babbage began to develop an analytical engine, a general purpose mechanical computing device for performing different calculations. This idea was later used to build the first electronic computer.
Charles Babbage died in 1871.