Page:Scientific Memoirs, Vol. 3 (1843).djvu/688

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678
L. F. MENABREA ON BABBAGE'S ANALYTICAL ENGINE.

tervals. The process of raising the threads is thus resolved into that of moving these various lever-arms in the requisite order. To effect this, a rectangular sheet of pasteboard is taken, somewhat larger in size than a section of the bundle of lever-arms. If this sheet be applied to the base of the bundle, and an advancing motion be then communicated to the pasteboard, this latter will move with it all the rods of the bundle, and consequently the threads that are connected with each of them. But if the pasteboard, instead of being plain, were pierced with holes corresponding to the extremities of the levers which meet it, then, since each of the levers would pass through the pasteboard during the motion of the latter, they would all remain in their places. We thus see that it is easy so to determine the position of the holes in the pasteboard, that, at any given moment, there shall be a certain number of levers, and consequently of parcels of threads, raised, while the rest remain where they were. Supposing this process is successively repeated according to a law indicated by the pattern to be executed, we perceive that this pattern may be reproduced on the stuff. For this purpose we need merely compose a series of cards according to the law required, and arrange them in suitable order one after the other; then, by causing them to pass over a polygonal beam which is so connected as to turn a new face for every stroke of the shuttle, which face shall then be impelled parallelly to itself against the bundle of lever-arms, the operation of raising the threads will be regularly performed. Thus we see that brocaded tissues may be manufactured with a precision and rapidity formerly difficult to obtain.

Arrangements analogous to those just described have been introduced into the Analytical Engine. It contains two principal species of cards: first, Operation cards, by means of which the parts of the machine are so disposed as to execute any determinate series of operations, such as additions, subtractions, multiplications, and divisions; secondly, cards of the Variables, which indicate to the machine the columns on which the results are to be represented. The cards, when put in motion, successively arrange the various portions of the machine according to the nature of the processes that are to be effected, and the machine at the same time executes these processes by means of the various pieces of mechanism of which it is constituted.

In order more perfectly to conceive the thing, let us select