Toy robots and superpiano: Vienna Technical Museum goes online

Toy robots, antique guns from the Austro-Hungarian imperial armoury, cameras, model ships, musical instruments

So instead it’s put them online in a virtual catalogue, creating one of the most fun locations on the internet for the technically minded.

The catalogue has photos and more or less detailed descriptions of more than 150,000 items and the database contains to grow. Visitors can search the catalogue by object, theme, events, geography, people and period.

There are around 7,000 items in the most highly researched collections, including steam engines and historical railroad equipment such as a track-surveying trolley.

One of the highlights is the so-called Superpiano developed by Austrian Erich Spielmann in 1928 and which used the photo-optical principle to generate music. It worked by projecting a light beam through black celluloid disks with holes cut in them onto a photo-electrical cell. The regular interruption of the light beam created an oscillating voltage tone that could reproduce seven octaves.

The device was also an early form of sampler, as the wave forms of various instruments could be stored on the celluloid discs.

Last update: Wed, 03/02/2016 - 13:30
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