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I’ll do it, but only if you’ll help

Pledge “babbage”

"I will set up and run a non-profit organization dedicated to building the Analytical Engine but only if 10,000 people will donate $10/£10/€10 to fund the organization."

— John Graham-Cumming

Deadline to sign up by: 31st January 2011
3,996 people signed up, 6004 more were needed

More details
I will convert the Plan 28 web site ( to a non-profit organization whose goal will be:

1. To help digitize and make available in electronic form all of Charles Babbage's notes and plans associated with the Difference Engine and Analytical Engine.

2. To fund the study of Babbage's Analytical Engine plans to determine what best constitutes a complete design for the Engine.

3. To coordinate the building of a computer simulation of the Analytical Engine that shows its working in 3D with accurate physics.

4. To build the Analytical Engine and donate it to a museum in Great Britain for public display.

This pledge is now closed, as its deadline has passed.

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  • Put me down for USD $20. I heard about this when you were on TWiT and think it's probably one of the best ideas anyone has had in a long time.
  • there is no end to what I would do to see this accomplished.
    Ays Sioux, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Brilliant idea and good luck with the project. Put me down for €50.
    Andreas Gehlert, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I'm in! Great project.
  • I'm down for 10 USD
  • Heard about Plan 28 on TWIT. Great idea! Build it, and we will come. Happy to pledge support and spread the word. Good luck to you!
    Jennifer Capestany, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Another TWiT listener - I'm in for £100.

    I can for the life of me not understand why a company like Apple ($4B in profit last quarter), IBM, Google or Microsoft would not sign up for $1M immediately??!

    Project needs a new more recognisable name.
    Jonathan Robinson, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • A computing steam machine?! That's awesome and worth at least 10 € to me.
    Johannes, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Long overdue project. As noted elsewhere, a pity the big guys are not the major sponsors. I am in for USD 50
    DJ Stewart, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • One theme is coming out repeatedly in the comments - people *really* like the idea of having their name on a cog. So, is it technically feasible for the mass-production manufacturers to scribe each piece with a "serial number" ... which just happens to be the name of a subscriber?

    To achieve the pledge needs 50000 subscribers. Will the final machine require >50k parts? If it does, then the problem is pretty much solved, apart from trivial technical details like getting a LaserWriter (not one of the Apple printers <G>) and working out where to put the names on each piece design.

    The project would probably need serial-numbering of many parts for QC, so why not combine the ideas. ("John Smith" is probably already used to being the 45th of that name to sign up for anything.)

    I'm just having a silly idea - someone signs up their child as a sponsor ... and a decade later goes to the Science Museum (or where ever) to show them "their cog". I can hear the violins from here!
    Or reverse the scenario - it'd make a great birthday present for Dad!
    Aidan Karley, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I'll pledge £20, my introduction to computing was a PDP11 so this'll be interesting...
    Gary Scott, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Heard your interview on New Zealand's National Radio programme. All the best for this project.
    Paul Dunlop, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Sounds like a cool project. I will pledge $100.
  • Heard this on twit, Leo rocks and this project sounds cool! Am pledging GBP10. Now just have to figure out how to send it! Am looking forward to coming seeing the project in some museum once its done!
  • Congrats on being able to lower the amount of pledges needed! Great work, I'm excited to help.
    Philip Shane, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Please add a paypal link, or some other message on your website to show us how to get our pledge to you. There are many of us trying to figure out how to give you our pledged amount.
  • I also got here through TWIT. I think you're doing the coolest thing :)
  • I'm in for $50. From the TWiT broadcast it sounds like we don't send money till you get sufficient pledges. Everybody, spread the word! Let's stampede the grand opening. Imagine your pride when you see it running and know some little cog is there because of you!

    Great project. Thanks!
    Cliff Wiegand, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • ^To those asking for ways to donate, the concept of pledging is that you will be contacted with a way to donate when we've reached enough people.

    As for the first step, here's a scan of Babbage's engine plan 25 I put together.
    It's difficult to find these in high resolution, let's hope for the cooperation of the science museum.
    Ays Sioux, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • A steam powered computer is the ultimate in geek cred. Well worth the price of admission.
    Oscar Papel, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • It's become very apparent to me that this pledge system doesn't work.

    There's a fundamentally wrong underlying assumption that every pledge equates to $10.

    Very quickly summing the pledges above there are around 25 pledges totalling $500.

    That's closer to an average of $20 per pledge.

    I myself pledge £25gbp when I pledged as well.

    I shall send John this message but there needs to be a way to total the pledge amounts.

    Phil Tolhurst, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I got my math completely wrong in my last message.

    That will teach me to do things quickly.

    The pledges listed at the time of writing there are around 25 pledges totalling $1400. An average of $40 per pledge

    (I got my USDGBP exchange rate confused last time)

    Therefore if you have 3,662 pledges averaging $40 you've got approximately $146,500 in pledges already.

    In John's latest email he indicated that he now only needed $100,000 in pledges. I think he has exceeded that.

    The problem is this pledge system only records names not amounts pledged.

    Maybe he would have been better to setup a charity and have people donate directly to the charity that way the amount raised would be clear and immediate.

    Phil Tolhurst, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I read about the project in Haaretz, and it very excited me.
    I already heard about the work of Babbage, and to see his dream come true will be wonderful.
    I will be glad to contribute 50$ for the success of this project.
    Good luck!
    Ayal, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Best geek project ever.
    Put me down for 10€.
    Fran Peña, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Put me down for 10€.
    Joao Monney Paiva, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Heard about this on TWiT. Big fan of the Difference Engine. I pledge $1000. Fantastic project!
    Doug Bannister, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Heard about this on TWiT. Worth £50 to see this beast being built.
    Graham Coles, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Heard about this on TWIT, in for $25 - what an awesome project!
    Gary Marangoni, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I'd happily give £100 to see this project happen.
    Andy Baker, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I'm in for US $100. I want to see (and hear!) this monster when it's running.
  • I pledged the mere pittance of $10 early on, but I'll happily increase my contribution to $100 to help push this forward. It's most gratifying to see how many others out there are similarly prepared to make a more substantial donation. Having enjoyed the thrill of watching Nathan Myhrvold's engine in operation at the Computer History Museum, I could hardly be more excited about this project.
    Mark Paulin, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I really want to see this happen!

    I will pledge the cash equivalent of one share of Amazon stock as of the 1/31/11 deadline to recognize the relationship between Babbage's work and my career.
  • I've got $10 with your name on it so far!
    Best of luck
    Joseph Liau, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I'm in for $50.00. I heard about this on TWIT.
    Stephen Esposito, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I'll happily pledge $100 to make my pledge worth 10 pledges.

    I want to see this happen.
    Jason Dowd, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I've got methods to pay I just do not know which ones are acceptable forms of payment.
  • Splendid, let's do this!
    Graeme Hewson, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I'm onboard. I think I have payPal money available.

    sistina sypher, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • John, is there some way of us also offering help as time or skills and signing up for that once accepted?
    Brent Longborough, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • It would be super cool to be able to pre-purchase "computing time" on the machine once it's finished. Especially once there is a working simulator, so the we know our programs will work. You could set up a price, like £10/hour. If the simulator is good enough, people would know that their programs would finish.

    I would gladly pay extra to be able to submit a program to run on this machine, and receive a printout of the results by mail. I don't know what I would have my program do, as it obviously can't be terribly complicated, however, I think I'd have fun writing a program for a beast like this.
    Jim Cipar, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I second the above two comments from Brent and Jim. Super cool, indeed!
    Graeme Hewson, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I still in and ready to double down. If somebody can tell me how?
  • My credit card is ready to support this awesome project!
    Marinus Oertel, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Us or Euro?

    sistina sypher, 10 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Seeing as the plan is up and running, can we have info on how to direct our pledges now?
    Guy Corcoran, 9 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I can put in $50...

    This project just needs to be done to prove to the world that steam, gears, science and computers can work together. To prove that Steam Punk is real...
    Douglas Godfrey, 9 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • How can I support this project? The pledge is over now and there's no clear explanation how to do it for people outside the UK (can't use Gift Aid).
  • Matej, (and Guy from a few months ago)
    The project has achieved enough funding to run now, so (unless I'm misunderstanding things), it is "in work" with enough capital to do it's work.
    I'm sure that if you want to contribute money (or time, or appropriate skills), you can contact them through the contact information given on the webpage (
    Aidan, 9 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The latest news is here:

    "...early in the New Year Plan 28 will enter a fundraising phase..."
    Graeme Hewson, 9 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
This pledge is closed for new comments.

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