at the Museo Leonardo Torres Quevedo in Madrid. Austrian computer
pioneer Heinz Zemanek saw the chess
automaton demonstrated at the World
Exhibition in Brussels in 1958. These
devices, which did not play a complete
chess game, were restricted to the end
game—king and rook against king.
factured in Germany, France, and
Switzerland and widely disseminated.
Credit is generally attributed to Heinrich Kummer of Germany (1847).
The “planimeter” was invented at
the beginning of the 19th century by
Johann Martin Herrmann of Germany
(1814), Tito Gonnella of Italy (1824),
and Johannes Oppikofer of Switzerland (1827). Much more successful
were the precise polar planimeters
(see Figure 7). The three most influential early designers and manufacturers of these and other integrating
instruments were Jakob and Alfred
Amsler of Schaffhausen, Switzerland,
Gottlieb Coradi of Zürich, and Albert
Ott of Kempten, Germany.
The Swiss cylinder musical box (see
Figure 8) uses a sophisticated pro-
gram store (pinned cylinder). Its suc-
cessor was the German disk musical
box with a perforated disk (invented
in 1885) that involved much simpler
production. The many mechanical
musical instruments in Europe at the
time were replaced by the phonograph
(Emile Berliner of Germany and the
U.S.) and the gramophone (Thomas
Alva Edison and his Swiss-born engi-
neer Johann Heinrich Krüsi). Another
form of storage was music rolls (perfo-
rated paper rolls).
Cylindrical slide rule. The world’s largest and most precise mass-produced
cylindrical slide rule (see Figure 9) was
manufactured by Loga Calculator AG
in Zürich and Uster, Switzerland. The
drum contains 80 sections, each 60 centimeters long; the length of the scale
(due to overlapping) is 24 meters. Prior
to mid-2013, only three surviving copies were known. Since then, four more
have been discovered in Switzerland.
Fuller’s spiral slide rule has a scale of
12. 7 meters; for details see Bruderer
and Meilensteine. 6
Chess automatons. Playing chess
is often regarded as requiring intelligence. Two operational chess automata
were created in Spain at the beginning
of the 20th century by Spanish engineer
Leonardo Torres (y) Quevedo, who also
built a cable car for spanning a portion
of Niagara Falls.
In 1912, he designed his first electromechanical chess machine (see
Figure 10), followed by a second device several years later (see Figure 11).
Both machines are today on display
Figure 9. The world’s largest mass-produced cylindrical slide rule from Loga Calculator (circa
1912), Zürich/Uster, Switzerland; length of scale: 24 meters. Multiplication is reduced to addition
and division to subtraction in the same way traditional slide rules work. These devices were
common in banks and insurance companies worldwide. Courtesy of UBS, Basel, Switzerland.
Figure 10. Early electromechanical chess
automaton (1912) by Torres Quevedo; unlike
Wolfgang von Kempelen’s machine, it is an
authentic automaton without hidden human
chess player. Courtesy of Museo Leonardo
Torres Quevedo, Universidad Politécnica de
Figure 11. Second automatic chess
endgame machine by Torres Quevedo,
playing with king and rook (automaton)
vs. king (human player). Courtesy of Museo
Leonardo Torres Quevedo, Universidad
Politécnica de Madrid, Spain.