Reply to post: Re: Victorian computing

Well bork me sideways: A railway ticket machine lies down for a little Windoze

TRT Silver badge

Re: Victorian computing

Actually it was John Saxby in 1856 that was granted the first patent for a system of interlocking railway signalling to ensure the correct sequence of operation and prevention of conflicting route setting. Although as early as 1843 a system of mechanical points interlocking was operating at Bricklayers Arms Junction in England. I suppose one could view such mechanical computers as the first programmable railway infrastructure. There was also a complex system of electrical communication between signal boxes and even between stations by way of coded bells, and all train movements and communications used to be logged in massive ledgers in the signal boxes. It's a fascinating insight into process... there were special bells for direction, line, the class of train (goods, passenger express, special service etc.), destination... and it was all signalled downstream ahead of the arrival of the train itself, like a virtual representation of the train travelling ahead of and parallel to it. A Victorian version of a hybrid circuit/packet switched network.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon