Back then, they were merely superstitious

Back then, they were merely superstitious

It's true: von Kempelen's box was nothing more than a clever distraction technique.

Though Babbage wasn't fooled by Maelzel's show, he did believe that it was possible to build a machine capable of playing games of skill, including chess.

Babbage's dislike of music in general, and street musicians in specific, is well (and hilariously) documented in Sydney Padua's lovely webcomic 2-D Goggles.