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Other Differential Analyzers


Many full scale machines were built, derived directly or indirectly from Bush's prototype, including at the Aberdeen Proving Ground (used for ballistics calculations), University of Pennsylvania, University of Sydney, Oslo University, Gothenburg Sweden (1950) and in Lenningrad.  By 1939 four large Differential Analyzers had been built in the UK - (at Manchester University, Cambridge University, Queen's University Belfast, and the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough).

A Meccano differential analyzer was built in Toronto by Beatrice (Trixie) Worsley (a former student of Hartree in Cambridge). not much is known about this machine, but some information can be found in Smillie (2004) and also online here and here. A very poor picture of the machine appeared on page 4 of the Toronto Globe and Mail for December 15, 1951. See also Williams (1994),
Williams (1997), Worsley (1948), and Worsley (undated).

A Meccano differential analyzer with four integrators, designed by Arthur Porter, was built at the Royal Military College of Science and used for teaching purposes.

A Meccano differential analyzer with two integrators was built by Prof. J. C. Cooke at the University of Malaya, Singapore and was featured in the Meccano Magazine for January 1951. See Anon. (1951). A brief mention also appeared in the 1949-50 Annual Report of the University of Malaya (Anon. (1950)) where the number of integrators is specified as three, with a fourth soon to be added.

Model machines were built at Macclesfield Grammar School, Radley College, and Pocklington School, York.


Dr Gary Tee of the Mathematics Department, University of Auckland has conjectured that at least 15 Meccano machines were in operation between 1934 and 1950. 

Summary of Meccano Differential Analyzers
Summary of Meccano Differential Analyzers


























Date Who
Where
Integrators
Reference
Notes
Dec 1933 Porter, A.
Manchester University
1
Porter, A. private communication.
Proof of concept model to validate torque amplifier design.
1934
Hartree, D. R. & Porter, A.
Manchester University
3
Hartree (1935)
First usable Meccano DA with single stage (non-Meccano) torque amplifiers.  Used Bonds helical gears.  Fourth integrator with dual stage torque amplifier added later.
1935
Lennard-Jones, J. E.,  Wilkes, M. V., & Bratt, J. B.
Cambridge University
5
Lennard-Jones (1939)
Used two stage torque amplifiers.  Moved to New Zealand in 1950. Now at MOTAT in Auckland, New Zealand.
1937-1939
Worthy, W. D.
Pocklington School, York
2
Worthy, P., private communication.
Built by William "Digby" Worthy, a 14 year old student at Pocklington school. No torque amplifiers. Used belt drives for interconnect. Later exhibited at English Electric Company
1937
Massey, H. S. W., Wylie, J., Buckingham, R. A., & Sullivan, R.
Queen's University, Belfast
4
Massey (1938)
Mostly custom, but used all Meccano spur gears. Helical gears from Bonds. Moved to University College, London in 1938. Destroyed in an air raid. According to Crank (1947), less accurate than the Cambridge model.
<1939 Howlett, J.
L.M.S. Railway Research  Laboratory
unknown

Hartree (1946)
Unknown if this had any Meccano content.  (May have followed Howlett to the War Office Projectile Development Establishment.)
unknown
Wormersley, J. R.
Armament Research Department, Woolwich.
unknown
Croarken (1990) Destroyed in air raid in early 1940s.
unknown
Benson, Capt. J. Coast Artillery Experimental Establishment, UK
unknown
Hartree (1946) Substantial Meccano content.
unknown
Sloane, R. W.
General Electric Co. Research Laboratories, UK
unknown
Hartree (1946) Acquired by Air Defence Research and Development Establishment (later called  Radar Research and Development Establishment).
1942
Wood, A. M.
Birmingham
2 (6 planned)
Wood (1942)
Only two integrators ever completed.
unknown
Stone, R
Macclesfield Grammar School
unknown
Crank (1947)
Built "several years ago" according to Crank.
1948
Porter, A.
Royal Military College of Science
4
Porter, A., private communication. Used for teaching purposes.
1948
Worsley, B.
Toronto
3
Worsley Archives
Used for teaching purposes.
1951
Cooke, J. C.
Singapore
3-4
Anon. (1950)

1957
Barton, J. C., Campbell, D. A., & Read, R. C.
University College of the West Indes
2 or more
Barton (1957)
Used for physics calculations.
unknown
Eyres, N.
Radley College
2
Fargus, D., private communication.
No torque amplifiers. Still in existence.

  

Summary of Full Scale Differential Analyzers
Date
Who
Where
Integrators
Reference
Notes
1931
Bush, V.
MIT
6
Bush (1931) The first differential analyzer.
1935
Hartree, D. R
Manchester University
4, later 8
Hartree  (1938b)
First full scale machine in Europe. Built by Metropolitan-Vickers.
1935
University of Pennsylvania 10 Travis (1932) Two polar input tables. Based on Bush's drawings.
1935?
Aberdeen Proving Ground 10
Similar to University of Pennsylvania.
1938

Cambridge University
8

Copy of the Manchester machine. Built by Metropolitan-Vickers.


Courtaulds Laboratories
8
Asprey
(1990)

1940 Beard
6 Beard (1942) Aquired in early 1940s by Valve Reasearch Department of Standard Telephones and Cables.
1942 Bush, V. MIT 18 Bush (1945) The Rockefeller DA, electro-mechanical. Programmed from paper tape.
1944

Oslo University 12




Lenningrad
6


1944

General Electric
14
Kuehni (1944)
Optical servos.


University of Illinois


Ball and disk integrators.


University of California

Copy of General Electric machine.


University of California Radiation Laboratory
12

Ball and disk integrators.
1951
Ashdown, G. L., and Selig, K. L.
Elliott Brothers
6
Ashdown (1951)
Ball and disk integrators, magslips, photo electric curve followers.
1951
Myers, D. M and Blunden, W. R.
University of Sydney
10
Myers (1951)
M-type electrical transmission between the units.


University of Gothenberg







Last modified:  10 February 2014

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