first model, made with toothed wheels in shafts that were
turned by a crank could produce a table of squares up
to five places. He contacted the British Government in
1822, pointing out the advantages of his Difference Engine
and offering to construct one for government use.
At a time when government grants for science were practically
unknown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer made a vague
verbal agreement to underwrite the enterprise with government
The proposed engine was to be much grander, with 20-place
capacity and up to sixth order differences. As a number
appeared in the answer column, it was to be transmitted
through a set of levers and cams to a collection of steel
punches, which would stamp the number on a copper plate.
Mechanically, this was an enormous order when you consider
that standardized parts still were practically non-existent.