University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Mechanical Harmonic Synthesizer / Multiharmonograph Collection, 1939-1948 and undated



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Mechanical Harmonic Synthesizer / Multiharmonograph Collection
Title Mechanical Harmonic Synthesizer / Multiharmonograph Collection
Dates: 1939-1948
Abstract This collection of student notes, reports, and photographs documents the mechanical harmonic synthesizer, later known as the mechanical multiharmonograph, an early analog computer.
Extent 2 in.
Language English.
Repository Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Historical Note

The machine was invented and built by S. Leroy Brown, a professor of physics at the University of Texas at Austin, along with machinists L. H. Gruber and Robert Brandt in the late 1930s. It was used by the University through the 1950s, then put in storage and later disassembled for use in other projects.


Scope and Contents

This collection of student notes, reports, and photographs documents the mechanical harmonic synthesizer, later known as the mechanical multiharmonograph, an early analog computer.

These records were collected by the physics department, transferred to the Texas Memorial Museum when the machine was put in storage and later moved to the Archives of American Mathematics at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

Forms part of the Archives of American Mathematics.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Unrestricted access.

Use Restrictions

The majority of this collection is stored remotely at CDL. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.


Index Terms

Subjects
Brown, S. Leroy, 1881-1966
Wheeler, Lisle L.
University of Texas at Austin. Dept. of Physics
Analog computers
Computers -- History
Mathematical instruments

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Mechanical Harmonic Synthesizer / Multiharmonograph Collection, 1939-1948 and undated, Archives of American Mathematics, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Acquisition Information

Transferred from the Texas Memorial Museum in 1992.


Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Student notebooks of L. L. Wheeler, University of Texas at Austin:

Box
AAM-MNR/2 Introduction to Higher Algebra, Maxime Bôcher, [contains notes from this book], 1940-1941
Multiharmonograph, volume two, [contains formulae], 1939-1940



 

Typed reports:

Box
AAM-MNR/2 "Graphical evaluation of Jacobi Polynomials with a Mechanical Harmonic Synthesizer," unknown author, undated
"Solution of Non-Linear Simultaneous Equations," Naval Research Laboratory in Physics, University of Texas, undated
"Solution of Two-Dimensional Non-Linear Simultaneous Equations in Polar Coordinates with the aid of a Mechanical Harmonic Synthesizer," Naval Research Laboratory in Physics, University of Texas, undated
"The Use of a Mechanical Harmonic Synthesizer to Determine the Characteristics of Non-Dissipative Electric Wave Filters," Naval Research Laboratory in Physics, University of Texas, signed by James M. Sharp, April 1, 1948
"Simultaneous Equations and Varying Cosine and Sine Arms of Same Harmonic in Regard to k and to akrk," by Lisle L. Wheeler, June 13, 1939



 

Photographs:

Box
4RM203c Nine black and white prints of the mechanical harmonic synthesizer, undated