Meccano model of spirograph and drawings (5), metal / wood / plastic / paper. made by Allan Bromley, Australia, 1970-1975
This is a very interesting object when considered within the history of the development of computer graphics, the work of the Basser Department of Computer Science at the University of Sydney and Bromley's career there. He began lecturing there in 1971 (?) and had started by building the KUKAC machine to teach himself how computers worked. At the time in the Basser Department work was beginning in the development of a computer graphics system based on a PDP-8 computer the department had acquired in 1967/8. The person who was leading that work was Doug Richardson who had been using the Departments KDF9 computer to produce a number of spirograph-like plots that used modulated versions of the equations that are also appropriate to the Spirograph. I don't exactly know when Bromley built this device but it is clearly around that time and may well have been a response to Richardson's work, the graphic designs that it produces being quite similar to ones that Richardson was producing with the KDF9 and plotter
The object is part of a collection relating to the history and development of calculating devices assembled by Assoc Professor Allan Bromley of Sydney University, comprising mathematical instruments, slide-rules, mechanical and electronic calculators, electronic analogue computers, computer components, kit computers, education computers, and associated ephemera.
Allan Bromley was a lecturer and researcher at the University of Sydney Basser Department of Computer Science from 1978 until his untimely death in August 2002. He specialised in Computer Architecture, Computer Logic and in particular the History of Computing. He was regarded as the world authority on Charles Babbage's Calculating Engines (instigating the building of the Difference Engine No.2 at the Science Museum London) and the Antikythera Mechanism and had extensive knowledge of calculators, analogue computers, logic, stereopsis, totalisators, clocks and time keeping and mechanical engineering.