BABBAGE, CHARLES | ON A METHOD OF EXPRESSING BY SIGNS THE ACTION OF MACHINERY. 1826
"On a method of expressing by signs the action of machinery". Offprint from: Philosophical Transactions, Vol. 116, pt 3. London: W. Nicol for the Royal Society, 1826
4to (257 x 196mm). [ii], 16pp. Four engraved plates, one folding; inscription a bit faded, outer margin of three plates just touching plate mark, but not affecting image, edges of plates a bit dust-soiled. Later wrappers. Housed in a cloth clamshell box.
FIRST EDITION, THE RARE OFFPRINT ISSUE, INSCRIBED "WITH THE AUTHOR'S COMPLIMENTS" ON THE TITLE PAGE
In this pamphlet, Babbage for the first time demonstrates his new mechanical notation system, which was essential for the all the design work for his Difference Engine. Babbage would later state: "Without the aid of this language I could not have invented the Analytical Engine; nor do I believe that any machinery of equal complexity can ever be contrived without the assistance of that or of some other equivalent language. The Difference Engine No. 2 . . . is entirely described by its aid" (Babbage, 104).
Babbage, Charles. Passages from the Life of a Philosopher. London: 1864