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Percy Ludgate (1883–1922), Ireland’s first computer designer

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Brian RandellORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021A greatly expanded treatment is presented of the history of the family, life and work of Percy Ludgate, nearly 50 years after the 1971 and 1982 papers by Brian Randell revealed his work on a mechanical computer, and almost 100 years after Ludgate’s death. The new material that has recently been obtained about this successor of Charles Babbage includes two very significant discoveries. The first is of a hitherto unknown contemporary published description of Ludgate’s Analytical Machine, incorporating the only surviving drawing of it yet found; the second is of American descendants of Ludgate’s niece, who have been allowed to erect a commemorative headstone on his previously unmarked grave.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Coghlan B, Randell B, Hockie P, Gonzalez T, MCQuillan D, O'regan R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Section C: Archaeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics and Literature

Year: 2021

Volume: 121C

Pages: 303-332

Online publication date: 09/09/2021

Acceptance date: 21/05/2021

Date deposited: 10/11/2023

ISSN (print): 0035-8991

ISSN (electronic): 2009-0048

Publisher: Royal Irish Academy


DOI: 10.3318/PRIAC.2021.121.09


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