U.S Navy vintage fire control computers (part 1)

Navy Training Film - Mechanical Fire Control Computer

I can’t recall which member was interested in something similar, maybe @jimrr ?


On an anti-aircraft cruiser we had the fly plane five predicter system which was a mechanical computer about 20 feet long and about 5 foot high. The insides looked like something out of a watch making factory. It was designed to deal with subsonic jet aircraft . The gyro units were quite temperamental and if they toppled the ship had to dock. The gunnery officer used to genuflect in front of them and say a few Hail Marys each morning. In a work up off Pearl Harbour we upset everyone by hitting a radio controlled speedboat at nine miles with our third round. I think it had a couple of V8’s in it and they believed it small size would make it difficult to hit. We also shot down a couple of radio controlled aircraft which had chain saw motors in them. After that they took their toys away and we were not allowed to play anymore.


More of these are needed, if nothing else as a math teaching tool. People being able to see and touch math makes it much more exciting and means more on a deeper level.

same channel has 4 very good lectures explaining how the harmonic analyser works. Enchanting, no?


Enchanting indeed. Imagine setting the levers on one with a thousand places!

Clever setup for the summer. If you replaced the coil springs on the bottom with leaf springs it would be easier to calibrate the spring rate.

Do you think a needle on smoked glass would give less friction than the Sharpie?

Should not his setup gauge have been curved? I suppose it’s within the machine tolerances.

Those are great questions. You could ask him in the comments. He’s an educator, so he probably expects it.

1 Like