Wednesday 25 March 2020

Visit to Precision Dynamics Discovery Shed – Postponed

Bob Moran is Director of Precision Dynamics Discovery Shed. There is a small museum at the “Shed” covering, computing before computers, a 1940’s working section of Julius’s totalisator (the first online realtime dater processing system was invented 1913) Early modern computers ie PDP-7 and working PDP-8 from Max Burnet’s BACK Museum.

The Discovery Shed houses early computing systems from the 1800s, about 20 original typewriters (including a Wagner-Underwood circa 1897), historic telescopes and parts of aircraft. One such item is an RAF biplane joystick dating to 1935, complete with buttons for firing guns. There’s a manual telephone exchange dating to 1930, rescued from a local tip in 2015.

Moran’s treasures stand the test of time. Perhaps the most notable item in his collection is a magnificent recreation of British engineer Charles Babbage’s 1832 Difference Engine No. 1 – essentially the first complete design for the first known automatic calculator and printer. Next to this sits a 1965 computer designed by Professor Gordon Bell, Researcher Emeritus at Microsoft. It was brought to the shed by Max Burnet, former director of Digital Equipment Corporation. It is large, imposing – a world away from the slick computers of today but it is priceless, says Moran.

Another impressive and imposing piece is a 1948 Julius Totalisator, created to calculate the odds on horse racing and the world’s first electronic calculator from Sharp, created in 1964 when Japan was preparing for the Olympics.

Venue: Precision Dynamics Discovery Shed, 63 Bassett Street, Mona Vale.

Time: 1 pm for 2 to 3 hours

Cost: RAHS and ASHET members $10, others $12 [payable in cash on the day]

Bookings Essential (so that Bob knows how many attendees he needs to accommodate): phone (02) 9477 1929  or email  ashetactivities@gmail.com