Charles Babbage was ahead of his time when he conceived of “mechanical ‘brains’ [difference engine] which would perform calculations ambitious even for today’s gigantic electronic computers” in the 1800s.
His Difference Engine (Fig. 2) was built between 1823 and 1842, when the British government withdrew its financial support. His Analytical Engine was still more ambitious but never amounted to more than 239 detailed drawings. It would have had a storage capacity of 1,000 50-digit numbers and built-in logarithms and other tables