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We preserve one of the oldest German computers. The tide computer from 1915, which was used to predict ebb and flow, can also be admired in our new exhibition.
The apparently simple phenomenon of ebb and flow is extremely complex when you take a closer look. It was not until the end of the 19th century that mathematicians developed a reliable method for accurately predicting the tides. However, it required a great deal of computing power. However, William Thomson, who later became Lord Kelvin, brilliantly recognised that the labour-intensive calculation of the tidal curve for any location could also be carried out by an analogue calculating machine - a mechanical computer. Both were built in Germany: The first in 1915, the second in 1955 in the GDR. The 1915 machine is one of the earliest computers built in Germany. The machines are special not only because only three such machines were ever built in Germany, but also because less than thirty stationary tidal computers have ever been built worldwide. Only a few of them are preserved and accessible to the public.
Since the beginning of May, the first German tidal calculator is being restored. In the exhibition you can look over the restorer's shoulder as he works.
We have been able to win over the restorer Tim Lücke, who has set up his workplace in the Bangert Building of our museum. He will be repairing the machine there once a month for a week, probably until November.
This restoration has been made possible by generous donations from the Kulturstiftung der Länder and the German Foundation Centre.
Historically valuable cultural assets
The German tidal calculating machines are of immense technical and scientific historical value, not only because of the development of calculating aids, but also because they reflect the peculiarities of the often war-induced use of technology in Germany in the 20th century.