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Jul 31, 2008


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Alan Wilkerson

That is soooo cool. Thanks for the link.

Michael W. Kruse

Nice to find someone who shares my appreciation of technological history. :)


There was an article some decades back in Scientific American (it was on the cover). I wonder why it's suddenly popped up again. I can't find that old one on their site, but there are two recent ones (2006 and 2008).

One question is, who used it?

Looking at the mechanism, I'm drawn to the conclusion that it had to be powered - you can't just pick it up and crank dials. Maybe if you knew the date, you could set that and read off all the other info.

We didn't come close to that until the Strasburg Cathedral Clock (built about 1350, rebuilt 1547, rebuilt again 1838). It's a perpetual clock, telling the dates of Easter for the next few millennia, along with eclipses, planetary positions, &c, &c.

If the parts don't wear out, and people remember to reset the weights, it'll keep accurate time forever.

Michael W. Kruse

I think the newsworthiness is the use of new technologies to decipher the gadget.

Part of what stories like this reveal at that there have been great technological leaps in the past but technology alone is insufficient for societal transformation.

"One question is, who used it? "

I guessing it was Greek at all. It was left behind by accident by space aliens on their way through a star gate. :)

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