Author Topic: Old Brass Brains  (Read 317 times)

rcjordan

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Brad

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Re: Old Brass Brains
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2017, 12:36:54 AM »
As mentioned in the article, fire control of the main guns of the Iowa class battleships was calculated by a gear work fire control computer.  US WW II submarines also had a clockwork computer for setting the course for torpedoes.

In the early 70's I got a tour of the computer lab at Standard Oil of Indiana's refining HQ in Naperville IL.  They had two big rooms, one completely filled with an transistor based analog computer, the other room was filled with a computer which must have been a analog digital hybrid. If I remember correctly they were used to model oil refining processes. I got to play Lunar Lander.

Roll forward a few years I'm at university, the PC had not been invented yet but I'm on a terminal playing Lunar Lander.

Roll forward a few years, I buy my first computer, KayPro II, Zilog Z80 chip, CP/M 2.2, and the game that came with it - Lunar Lander.

littleman

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Re: Old Brass Brains
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2017, 12:59:23 AM »
I love the clockwork like internals of analog computers.  Its really interesting that they may be bringing it back in a new way.

I know you all know about this but I can't help myself:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism

rcjordan

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Re: Old Brass Brains
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2017, 01:15:33 AM »
I've told the story before, probably too many times. hhh

My dad was an electro-mechanical genius. Enough so that IBM whisked him away to their headquarters for a few weeks in order to pick his brain because he had extensively modified one of these, adding features that IBM had declared as impossible for an analog machine;

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/computinghistory/402.html

The problem with extensive modifications, though, is that your computer is now one-of-a-kind and he was the only one that could rebuild it 15-20 yrs LATER when its main crankshaft had to be replaced (yes, it had a crankshaft --bigger than a large block auto engine) and the literally hundreds of gears and circuit breakers timed off of it.  We called in the Service Reps to assist and, two weeks later, it was done.  The service rep in charge took the crankshaft and had it mounted and displayed at the regional office.