View Full Version : Amazing mechanical exposure computer

11-16-2011, 01:05 PM
Hardly new, but undeniably an interesting gadget!
Kaufmann’s Posographe - a 1920's French 6-variable mechanical calculator:

Dave Attached files http://f295.f295.org/uploads/posographe01_medium_549.jpg (http://f295.f295.org/uploads/posographe01_medium_549.jpg)

11-22-2011, 08:07 AM
Thanks for posting, really interesting mechanical computer :-)

11-28-2011, 06:21 AM
Thanks for posting. Really a mechanical master piece. Now we have only to implement the reciprocity factor.

Doug K
01-07-2012, 12:06 PM
I love things like this. I work with industrial controls, and my favorite system is pneumatic controls. To me that's much more impressive than all this electronic computing we do these days. Doing math with mechanical devices, and transmitting the signal as air pressure is incredible. I'd love to own one of these, but of course now that it's all over the internet now, they will be expensive...

Jim Jones
01-08-2012, 05:42 PM
In an age of sophisticated calculators, cell phones, and other gadgets, it's easy to overlook the long history of mechanical (and later, electro-mechanical) devices. When I first became involved in electronics over 60 years ago, the slide rule was one of our tools. They still have advantages over calculators for some functions. They also have an elegance of construction that isn't outwardly apparent in electronic devices.

As late as 1967 I worked on an electro-mechanical computer that took in a ship's heading, pitch, and roll, and directed an antenna to track a moving satelite. Much more complex electro-mechanical computers had been used in the second World War to control a ship's big guns and calculate how a torpedo should be set to be fired from a moving submarine to hit a moving ship.

Two millenia before that, a remarkably complex mechanical calculator could predict many astronomical phenomenas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism). The best minds of ancient times were our equals; they only lacked the accumulation of centuries of knowledge.

01-08-2012, 06:18 PM
What struck me about this device was that it is a mechanical embodiment of a nomogram, or rather, several "chained" nomograms. The internal levers very cleverly implement addition and multiplication operations, and all the real work is done in the scale calibrations!