Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine


Charles Babbage


Analog Computer


Realigns machinery for optimal performance


Causes component degradation immediately afterwards


Laying punch cards on computers

Collected by

Warehouse 12







Date of Collection

November 12, 1875



Charles Babbage is the progenitor of all modern computers, designing the first programmable computer in 1821. The “difference engine” could calculate up to numerical tables up to 20 decimal places long with accuracy, ushering in new ideas for even more complex and useful systems. The engine itself remained only a model during his lifetime, which his son continued to build. Later versions proved Babbage’s original designs would have worked with the techniques available then.

Babbage’s more ambitious vision was an analytical engine capable of using punched cards and stored memory to perform any calculation. Friend Ada Lovelace translated research and designed the earliest plans for computer software. Her notes on algorithms laid the groundwork for future programmers to expand the capabilities beyond intensive finger-counting.


The original schematics and partially-completed models were collected from the archives of the Royal Society on accounts of “outbursts” among the collections. When Warehouse 12 agents accidentally connected the engine to the telecom system, they noticed all messages became clear and devoid of interference. Agents Gowan, Heinsfelt, Dunston and Iaccola spearheaded 6 years of development to finally complete the original model as Babbage envisioned. The device remained a key component for keeping Warehouse 12 and early Warehouse 13 technologies running without issues.

Performing the installed mathematical functions will issue sheets of punched cards. Wrapping around or installing on machinery will restructure itself for increased efficiently. Any pieces that didn’t work in unison well now flow smoothly with each other, using more energy than wasting. It works especially well on computer technology, at times rewriting the software and wiring to better tackle its constraints.

After removing, the machinery will quickly start to fall into disrepair. All adjustments will revert and worsen, causing parts to break apart until they need to be fully replaced.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.