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Thread: Mechanical memory (and logic gates)

  1. #1

    Default Mechanical memory (and logic gates)

    Based om some publications, I tried to recreate 3D-printable mechanical components as they could have been implemented in the Zuse Z1, Z2 and Z4 mechanical programmable calculators (computers according to some). The logic gates were only used in the Z1, but the memory cell was also employed in the Z2 and Z4. The latter even had 1024 * 32 bits!

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Pacific Northwest, USA
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    Your mention of a mechanical memory brought to mind a device that was developed around the WWII era. It was a typewriter-to-morse-code machine, but with a memory--that is, one could type ahead of the code being sent. Each keystroke set a pawl on a rotating drum, which pawl positions would be read while sending. I don't recall what the thing was called, but I'm sure there's a patent out there somewhere. This probably was an early implementation of keyboard buffering.

    Of course, read-write mechanical memory is very old. Consider the adjustable combination stops on a pipe organ.

  3. #3


    I don't think Zuse ever did get his mechanical memory to work well. I do like his relay based carry mechanism. It was much faster than a relay based carry that depended on the actuation of each bit's relay to pass the carry.

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