Last night, I was listening to All Things Considered on NPR and I caught a story about an ancient Greek device that was recovered about 100 years ago. Upon arriving home, I phonetically keyed this into a search as “antikitherer” mechanism and Google was kind enough to suggest that I should try searching for “antikythera“.
My spelling was at least somewhat close on this one, but there are definitely times when I wonder how Google knows what I am trying to find when I just destroy the spelling.
Anyway, this led me to the worthwhile entry about the Antikythera mechanism on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia states (for the moment) that the mechanism was recovered from 42 meters of water by a team of sponge divers in the year 1900. You have to be amazed that 2,000 years ago someone could have come up with such an intricate device.
As to the recovery of the device by sponge divers, that is downright impressive. I am not well versed in the history of diving, but I am pretty sure that the year 1900 was before the introduction of scuba gear. I find myself picturing these sponge divers as folks with great eyesight and a hell of a set of lungs.
This all just struck me as pretty interesting and in today’s news I found this Reuters story on that goes on to officially state that the Antikythera Mechanism is in fact the first known mechanical calculator.