Steampunk telephony

27.04.2011 19:04

Yesterday I went to the Museum of Post and Telecommunications in Polhov Gradec, which is a part of the national technical museum. With a relatively small exhibition it covers the history of telecommunications from horse carrying a bag of mail to digital mobile telephony. Certainly the most interesting exhibit there was a working electromechanical telephone exchange with three phones connected to it so you can actually look at the moving stepping switches while dialing a number.

I would say these machines have a similar appeal for electrical engineers as steam engines probably have for mechanical engineers. Everything is exposed and you can inspect their mode of operation simply by observing them with an unaided eye. Even with just basic engineering knowledge you can enjoy deducting interesting details of how they work.

More modern systems are certainly a valuable part of the collection, but their core components are simply much too small, too fast or too complex for this kind of observation. While observing a vintage transistor circuit can be just as fun, I doubt any museum allows you to poke their exhibits with an oscilloscope.

It is no wonder then that people are still building relay-logic devices (or steam locomotives for that matter).

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Digital

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