History of Science Museum: Collection Database Search

Narratives

Inventory no. 18230 - Former Display Label

THE FIRST LOGICAL MACHINE

Designed and built by W. Stanley Jevons (1835-1882). Jevons was Professor of logic, mental and moral philosophy and Cobden Professor of political economy at Owen's College (now the University of Manchester) from 1866 to 1876 and Professor of political economy at University College, London, from 1876 to 1880. In 1871 he published his "Theory of Political Economy", one of the foundations of modern economy.

He built this machine in 1869. It is described in Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. (1870), in a paper "On the Mechanical performance of Logical Inference", and in his "Principles of Science" (1873).

The machine is, in Jevons own words, "capable of exhibiting an answer to any question which may be put to it concerning the possible combinations which form any class".

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