Do you have some extremely old hardware in your home or office? Maybe you still have that 286 laying around someplace or perhaps a TRS-80? As antiquated as these things might seem next to todays quad-core CPUs with gigabytes of memory, they’re nothing compared to the Meccano Differential Anaylser No. 2:
“That machine was bought for £100 and came to New Zealand around 1950. Ironically, it was used to build the Benmore Hydro Dam and by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, to calculate rabbit populations. It then languished for years at Wellington Polytechnic before finding its way to the Museum of Transport and Technology in the 1970s, where it has been restored and is on display as a lead exhibit in the museum’s “Machines that Count” exhibition.
MOTAT’s Differential Analyser was built by J B Bratt at Cambridge University in 1935, largely from Meccano components. It is known as Meccano Differential Analyser No. 2.”
It’s amazing to see how much progress computing has made in the past 70 years. For an added dose of hardware history appreciation, we suggest that you look the word “calculator” up in any dictionary that was published before 1960.