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Anecdotes: The Windmill Computer -- An Eyewitness Report of the Scheutz Difference Engine Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129583D
Original Publication Date: 1989-Dec-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 1 page(s) / 13K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Ralf Bulow: AUTHOR [+2]


Deutsches Museum Munich West Germany

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Copyright ©; 1989 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Anecdotes: The Windmill Computer -- An Eyewitness Report of the Scheutz Difference Engine

Ralf Bulow

Deutsches Museum Munich West Germany

In the summer of 1872 the Austrian astronomer Edmund Weiss (1837-1917) spent two months in the United States where he visited observatories and optical workshops. In August he was at Dudley Observatory in Albany, New York, which since 1857 housed the difference engine designed by the Swedish engineers Georg and Edvard Scheutz. After his return to Austria Professor Weiss wrote an account of his trip which bore the title "Ueber den Zustand der practischen Astronomie in America." (On the Present State of Practical Astronomy in America) and was published in the Vierteljahresschrift der Astronomischen Gesellschaft 8, pp. 296-321, October 1873. About his visit to Albany he told the following details (my translation):

In recent years the Dudley Observatory, Albany, has concentrated on meteorological observations, often with self-registering instruments. In the whole observatory one encounters the greatest possible use of mechanical devices. For instance, the big calculating machine (Rechenmaschine of G. & E. Scheutz, from Stockholm, which during my stay was used for the production of refraction tables, is driven by a small windmill erected in the garden and thus tr...