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The Antikythera Mechanism Build

The Antikythera Mechanism Build
The Wiki entry on this marvelous ancient computer reads:

Quote:The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient Greek analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes decades in advance. It could also be used to track the four-year cycle of athletic games which was similar to an Olympiad, the cycle of the ancient Olympic Games.

This artefact was retrieved from the sea in 1901, and identified on 17 May 1902 as containing a gear by archaeologist Valerios Stais, among wreckage retrieved from a wreck off the coast of the Greek island Antikythera. The instrument is believed to have been designed and constructed by Greek scientists and has been variously dated to about 87 BC, or between 150 and 100 BC, or to 205 BC, or to within a generation before the shipwreck, which has been dated to approximately 70–60 BC. In 2017 Alexander Jones offered various lines of evidence that argue for the latter dating, suggesting that the device was probably new when the ship carrying it went down.

[Image: NAMA_Machine_d%27Anticyth%C3%A8re_1.jpg]

An image of the large gear.

A mechanist on youtube named Clickspring has set about building the mechanism. He not only makes the various gears and post, but also discusses and constructs period tools possibly used by the original craftsmen. For example, he has made a vise, drill bits, a pump drill, case-hardened files, a dividing plate (for marking out the gear ratios), and soldering irons, and has explored various marking substances. He still uses modern tools to machine parts when necessary, though. Clickspring has uploaded nine construction episodes, along with nine "fragments" in which he builds the period tools. Each one is slow in coming, and after two years he still has a long way to go. Below is a link to the episode playlist. I'll make update posts when new episodes or fragments are uploaded.

The following 8 users Like ghostexorcist's post:
  • brunumb, Alan V, SYZ, Fireball, Thumpalumpacus, Jenny, skyking, Dom

The Antikythera Mechanism Build
Yair, a wonderful analogue computer. I look forward to learning about the reconstruction .

When I read about this device, there is often an implication that it was somehow extra ordinary for its times.  Rare of course, if only due to time and cost.

The ancient greeks produced a goodly number of geniuses (geni?).Apart from Archimedes, Aristotle and Plato,  I often think of Hero/Heron/Hiro of Alexander, who built some wonderful devices.

OF course, I'd give ,well perhaps  not an arm, but certainly thousands of dollars to own a reconstruction of the Antikythera device . .I think it's a fantastic , magical  device.


Hero of Alexandria (/ˈhɪəroʊ/; Greek: Ἥρων[1] ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεύς, Heron ho Alexandreus; also known as Heron of Alexandria /ˈhɛrən/; c. 10 AD – c. 70 AD) was a mathematician and engineer who was active in his native city of Alexandria, Roman Egypt. He is considered the greatest experimenter of antiquity[2] and his work is representative of the Hellenistic scientific tradition.[3]
Hero published a well-recognized description of a steam-powered device called an aeolipile (sometimes called a "Hero engine"). Among his most famous inventions was a windwheel, constituting the earliest instance of wind harnessing on land.[4][5] He is said to have been a follower of the atomists. Some of his ideas were derived from the works of Ctesibius.
Much of Hero's original writings and designs have been lost, but some of his works were preserved—mostly in manuscripts from the Eastern Roman Empire, and a smaller part in Latin or Arabic translations. 


The clip below is a  doco on Hiro. Sorry about the quality. If you don't like that, there are several short clips about some of  his specific devices, including a steam engine, which worked.  

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The Antikythera Mechanism Build
I dig that machine! I made a line drawing in MS Visio that has the gears in contact at the outer perimeter, without teeth, as best as I could do it based on an online picture. Even that is intriguing.

[Image: ExXpfBr.jpg]
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The Antikythera Mechanism Build
There was a great PBS video on this mechanism.  I think it was a Nova program.

The Antikythera Mechanism Build
There was a great PBS video on this mechanism.  I think it was a Nova program.

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