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We know that Charles Babbage designed the first Turing-complete mechanical machine - the Analytical Engine - in the 1800s, but it was never actually built (not yet anyway).

In recent history, at least one mechanical Turing machine has been built. (This example is in fact a Universal Turing Machine, albeit with finite storage space.) But was this the first one, or are there earlier examples?

What was the first mechanical Turing-complete machine constructed, who built it and when?


Edit: By mechanical, I mean no electronics are used.

  • I don't think that before WW2, Turing considered building a mechanical Turing machine. IMHO, Turing machine was then a theoretical construction. Building one mechanically is fun, but is not efficient. Mechanical computing machines existed since Pascal (XVIIth century, France) and where more efficient doing useful computations (additions & multiplications ...) – Basile Starynkevitch Feb 6 '16 at 6:43
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    Nobody wanted that. Tabulators were for the accounting and censuses, analog devices solved differential equations and were better as gun/bomb/torpedo sights (cheaper and smaller). – Deer Hunter Feb 6 '16 at 12:20
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    The first working freely programmable computer was maybe Konrad Zuse's Z1 – thorsten müller Feb 6 '16 at 14:42

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