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TJMac
2010-Dec-12, 04:51 PM
I inherited this from my father, when he passed a few years ago, but he had owned if for as long as I remember. I recall him bringing it out to show quite a few people, from several different fields of expertise, and yet still, I really have no idea to what it actually is. Having worked for many years with fine measuring instruments, I would say it is definitely well crafted, but that's the sum of my knowledge about it.


http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y283/TJMac/What%20is%20this/HPIM0887Small-1.jpg
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y283/TJMac/What%20is%20this/HPIM0887Small.jpg


It opens and moves in quite a few ways, and if anyone would like to see it in those positions, I can get pictures taken of it. Google of every word and number gave me a link to a very old Ebay auction, where apparently someone else had one for sale.

I have gotten, over the years, at least 3 answers to "exactly" what it is. When I go to check, I find out that my sources were less than dependable. Hopefully, given the scope of experience and fields of expertise covered on this board, someone may know.

TJ

Chuck
2010-Dec-12, 05:21 PM
Prototype Starship Enterprise?

Trebuchet
2010-Dec-12, 05:42 PM
Wow, that's a thing of beauty. I love stuff like that, even though I couldn't tell you what it is. I do notice that the scale, at 1:25000, is very small, so probably something to do with mapping or land surveying. Would you be able to post a bit larger picture? I can't make out all the writing, although it appears to be a German maker. I would also be very interested in seeing pictures of the motions.

flynjack1
2010-Dec-12, 06:00 PM
Somewhat of a wild guess.....German Ship/Sub Navigation instrument...possibly to calculate torpedo firing solutions. Definitly looks like a shipboard type instrument to me. Thats where I would begin my search but it could be just a cartographers tool of some sort.

TJMac
2010-Dec-12, 06:06 PM
I will get some better pictures, of more views, later today.

TJ

kleindoofy
2010-Dec-12, 06:11 PM
... I have gotten, over the years, at least 3 answers to "exactly" what it is. When I go to check, I find out that my sources were less than dependable. Hopefully, given the scope of experience and fields of expertise covered on this board, someone may know. ...
Here's the manufacturer's website: http://www.haff.com/

Why not just send them an email and ask. They should know.

They seem to make percision drafting equipment, for architects, land surveyors, etc.

kleindoofy
2010-Dec-12, 06:21 PM
... German Ship/Sub Navigation instrument...possibly to calculate torpedo firing solutions. ...
Errr, this may come as a complete surprise to you, but not everything built in Germany has to do with submarines and torpedos, even if the History Channel may lead you to believe otherwise.

TJMac
2010-Dec-12, 06:32 PM
Kleindoofy, Thank you for the link to the maker. I believe at one time in the past, I had tried to contact them, with no success. I have sent them another Email.

For what its worth, there are absolutely NO military type markings of any sort, on either the instrument, or the black leather case it is stored in.

TJ

flynjack1
2010-Dec-12, 06:33 PM
Errr, this may come as a complete surprise to you, but not everything built in Germany has to do with submarines and torpedos, even if the History Channel may lead you to believe otherwise.

No offense intended but I have spent a little time on plotting boards and it seemed credible to be a plotting tool of some sort, as a former Naval Officer myself I took it a step too far, but that is why I said it was a "wild guess".

Chuck
2010-Dec-12, 08:42 PM
It doesn't have to be for the German navy. It could be for bombers or artillery.

chrissy
2010-Dec-12, 08:56 PM
It looks like an older version of this planimeter (http://www.haff.com/mechanical_planimeter_e.htm), Gebrüder Haff's company produced mathematical and drawing instruments.

kleindoofy
2010-Dec-12, 08:56 PM
It doesn't have to be for the German navy. It could be for bombers or artillery.
:doh:

Errr, this may come as a complete surprise to you, but not everything built in Germany has to do with the military, even if the History Channel may lead you to believe otherwise.

Instruments for technical draftsmen can be used for anything.

People, get a grip.

Trebuchet
2010-Dec-12, 09:48 PM
It looks like an older version of this planimeter (http://www.haff.com/mechanical_planimeter_e.htm), Gebrüder Haff's company produced mathematical and drawing instruments.

A planimeter was my first thought before I looked at the picture, but the instrument doesn't look all that much like one to me. Looking at the Haff catalog was quite interesting and brought back memories. I've still got my compasses, dividers, and the like from the days before CAD. I never had any of the quality they appear to sell, however. It's surprising they are still in that line of business as there isn't much manual drawing done in industry any more.

kleindoofy
2010-Dec-12, 10:11 PM
... It's surprising they are still in that line of business as there isn't much manual drawing done in industry any more.
This page of the website (http://www.haff.de/das_unternehmen.html) isn't in the English version, but it says that using their experience if fine mechanics, they've shifted the greater portion of their business to producing percision machine and instrument parts for other firms. Since those parts would be made per individual customer order, they can't really put them on the website as products.

PetersCreek
2010-Dec-12, 11:50 PM
Based on this post (http://www.collectingbanter.com/showthread.php?t=14403)in a collector's forum, it would appear to be a WWII anti-aircraft range indicator (or calculator). Online images to match the description are elusive so far.

slang
2010-Dec-13, 12:31 AM
Based on this post (http://www.collectingbanter.com/showthread.php?t=14403)in a collector's forum, it would appear to be a WWII anti-aircraft range indicator (or calculator).

And to satisfy kleindoofy: It could be used to determine the range of commercial or civilian aircraft too! :P


Online images to match the description are elusive so far.

Google Images is having lots of trouble loading pages, at least on this PC. First page loads fine, the rest remain blanks. Anyway, I've tried many search keys to do with navigation, sea, map, drawing, drafting, vintage, etc, but haven't seen anything that looked even remotely like TJMac's pic. Why do I bother mentioning it? Because someone else might have better ideas for search keys. Good find, Brett, regardless of whether it turns out to be the thing.

swampyankee
2010-Dec-13, 12:55 AM
It looks to me a lot like the head on one of these: http://www.draftingfurniture.com/listings/image2/100539th.jpg. Those are, of course, drafting machines. What what your father's line of work? May help pin it down if he was, say, a cartographer.

Jens
2010-Dec-13, 01:43 AM
May help pin it down if he was, say, a cartographer.

There are markings that say 25,000, and national land surveys apparently are often done at 1/25,000 scale, so that seems like a pretty good clue as to what it is.

mike alexander
2010-Dec-13, 04:00 AM
Whatever it is, it's just bloody beautiful.

mfumbesi
2010-Dec-13, 06:16 AM
^ I have to concur with you. It is an impressive specimen, showing un-paralleled workmanship.

Torsten
2010-Dec-13, 07:38 AM
I'm sure it's not the head off of a drafting machine. Having spent a gazillion hours using one, I know they are just marked in degrees.

The left part of the device looks like a circular slide rule of some sort, and the right side arms look like they are from a caliper, complete with the fine adjusting wheel. Does one of the arms move when the part of the circular portion is rotated? This would suggest a variable relationship between the two arms based on angle dialed in on the circular part, but I'm really speculating. It would be nice to get more detailed pictures of it in different configurations to see how the scales vary and then speculate on what the inputs were and how the results were determined.

It vaguely reminds me of a mechanical flight computer that I used in planning and during cross country flights in an earlier life:

http://i259.photobucket.com/albums/hh315/TKphotofolder/BAUT/Air_Nav_Computer.jpg

jokergirl
2010-Dec-13, 08:50 AM
The company, Haff, seems to specialise in drawing tools so I would agree with the people who say this is likely a mapping tool of some sort. I might do some digging, purely out of interest... 'tis is a thing of beauty, whatever it is.

;)

jokergirl
2010-Dec-13, 10:26 AM
Could you link a bigger version? I'd like to see what the units are on the circle. My current suspicion is something to do with projection, maybe the circle shows degrees and it converts lengths in a specific projection depending on latitude?

JohnD
2010-Dec-13, 11:17 AM
Could the Scientific Instrument Society help?
http://www.sis.org.uk/contact/welcome

Or, this SIS member, whose online collection includes nothing like it:
http://www.mathsinstruments.me.uk/index.html

The Science Museum, London, has an extansive gallery that may help http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/onlinestuff/museum_objects.aspx but they say specificly that they won't answewer questions. May be worth a try to seek further paces like SIS.

Thinking laterally, Diagram 3.30 on this page: http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/policy/army/fm/3-3-1_2/Ch3.htm looks very like the instument.
Chillingly, it calculates radiation dose downwind of a nuclear explosion.

John

kleindoofy
2010-Dec-13, 01:35 PM
Ahh, wild speculation is so much fun!

Maybe it was brought to Roswell by the aliens! (Everybody knows they loved to put fake company names on things.)

Well, I did the most obvious thing and just called the company. The sales manager said she didn't know what it was; it's too old for her. She said the boss will probably know, but he's away this week. I'll call again next week.

Until then, we can think up all sorts of crazy things and end up looking pretty silly when we get the answer.

Thank heavens this isn't one of those sites where people jump to absurd conclusions based on lacking or flimsy evidence. No, this is BAUT, the self-proclaimed Vatican City of scientific methodology, careful research, and rational thinking. We're supposedly all smart like.

Fazor
2010-Dec-13, 05:28 PM
I thought the point of a discussion forum, particularly ones marked as babbling, were to discuss things. No one here has said, "Oh, it's definitely this!" or "I has to be that!" They've offered opinions, based on various findings no less, as to what it might be. Which, if I'm not mistaken, was what a this thread was about.


Thank heavens this isn't one of those sites where people jump to absurd conclusions based on lacking or flimsy evidence. No, this is BAUT, the self-proclaimed Vatican City of scientific methodology, careful research, and rational thinking. We're supposedly all smart like.

You'd be hard pressed to find a scientist that's never offered an opinion or best-guess on anything. And this forum would be very boring if all thread's were just "What is this item." [Two weeks later] "It's a kilosciloplotascope." And I, for one, don't appreciate the thinly veiled accusation that anyone who has offered an opinion is stupid.

captain swoop
2010-Dec-13, 10:41 PM
IF you are unhappy with the content of a post then report it.

Romanus
2010-Dec-13, 11:21 PM
Just want to chime in that this thread reminds me of the old The Far Side panel in which mobsters threaten a victim with an unidentifiable "Mr. Thingy". :)

kleindoofy
2010-Dec-13, 11:36 PM
@Fazor

Excuse me if it sounded wrong, but it's just exasperating when every piece of equipment manufactured in Germany prior to May 1945 is immediately and more or less exclusively associated with shooting torpedos from submarines, dropping bombs from airplanes, tracing and shooting down aircraft, and more of the same.

Even if it's a surveyor's tool or a map plotting or reading device (which it probably is, a planimeter), in many internet opinions it will of course have been used to plan tank warefare, build Luftwaffe airstrips, and what have you.

This is a form of prejudice and shouldn't be on BAUT. Maybe it is a piece of old military paraphernalia, but would that be the first thing to jump into peoples minds if it was from, say, Spain?

GeorgeLeRoyTirebiter
2010-Dec-13, 11:41 PM
If it was from Spain, we'd be arguing whether it was used by the Republicans or the Nationalists. :razz:

TJMac
2010-Dec-14, 03:18 AM
I had planned to get new and better pictures up, but it appears that my daughter has "borrowed" my camera, and I need to chase her down...

Unless my sons phone has a good cam... Hmmm. :think:


In answer to a couple of comments: Dad was a farmer, and I am not sure where exactly he picked this thing up, he had spent some time in post WWII Europe, but none of my siblings are sure if thats when he got it or not. (I am not on speaking terms with all of them)

Of the guesses I have gotten before posting, most of them seem to lean toward the military, but when I showed it to a German military collector at a gun show, he thought the lack of any sort of markings on either the case or the instrument itself was indication that it was more civilian in nature.

A few minutes later, a very authorative sounding fellow assured me it was a range finding device for a German light machine gun. He had no actual proof however, but did offer me $500 for it.

TJ

a1call
2010-Dec-14, 04:42 AM
It seems to be a very rare item. Don't give it away for $500.
I spent some time trying to locate a duplicate to no success. I think with better pictures it would be possible to reverse engineer it's functions. One certain thing as pointed out already is it's scale and thus standard map based function. The sliding hinged part on the arms probably functions as an angle to distance calculator of some sort. Can't figure out why the makings are linear though.

ETA: The double linear markings on the arms might state a ratio.
ETA-II: perhaps a calculator of the sin of an angle.

Moose
2010-Dec-14, 09:42 AM
Even if it's a surveyor's tool or a map plotting or reading device (which it probably is, a planimeter), in many internet opinions it will of course have been used to plan tank warefare, build Luftwaffe airstrips, and what have you.

I think that may be a bit oversensitive, kleindoofy. I was (and am) quickly, myself, coming to the conclusion that it's a specialized shipboard navigation tool. Not because it was "built by germans" (I hadn't thought of looking at the company name until it came up), but because it's uncommon enough that a BAUT-full of engineers don't readily recognize it, nor readily reason out it's application.

That makes it specialized, and "specialized+obscure" greatly increases the likelihood that it's military. It's a reasonable hypothesis based on the observable evidence.

The phone call was a good idea. It'll be interesting to know what they say.

Jens
2010-Dec-14, 10:11 AM
This is a form of prejudice and shouldn't be on BAUT. Maybe it is a piece of old military paraphernalia, but would that be the first thing to jump into peoples minds if it was from, say, Spain?

If it were from Spain, we would presume it was an instrument used to gauge the angle at which the blade should be driven into the bull's shoulder. :)

ggremlin
2010-Dec-14, 10:31 AM
Have you thought of visiting the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pawn_Stars)? If they can't tell you nobody can.

rommel543
2010-Dec-14, 04:58 PM
I would have to agree with the current idea that it's an artillery range calculator. To me it looks very much like a gunner's calculator with built in angle adjustment and fine adjustment for wind, etc.

Artillery Calculator (http://tonydye.typepad.com/main/2009/05/artillery-calculation-from-years-past.html)

rommel543
2010-Dec-14, 05:03 PM
A few minutes later, a very authorative sounding fellow assured me it was a range finding device for a German light machine gun. He had no actual proof however, but did offer me $500 for it.

TJ

Beware anyone willing to give you money on the spot for it. It usually means A) it's worth something B) they aren't giving you what it's worth. Guaranteed they would give you the money and then walk away smiling on how good of a deal they got. I have a Winchester Model 1910 16 ga. I was offered $2000 cash for it, found out later it was worth around $5000 because of how good of a shape it's in.

ngc3314
2010-Dec-14, 05:30 PM
Have you thought of visiting the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pawn_Stars)? If they can't tell you nobody can.

Because they know a guy (cue arrival, stage right, of an expert in mid-20th-Century German precision mechanical tools for measurement and calculation).

TJMac
2010-Dec-15, 01:11 AM
Have you thought of visiting the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pawn_Stars)? If they can't tell you nobody can.

I actually had hoped that the Antique Roadshow would come through my city, so I could go stand in line, and hopefully get an identity on it.

TJMac
2010-Dec-15, 01:23 AM
Ok, camera recovered and here are some more pictures.

Another full view:
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y283/TJMac/What%20is%20this/HPIM1743.jpg

A view of the back, showing the small rotary linear scale.
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y283/TJMac/What%20is%20this/HPIM1744.jpg

With the small lower arm swung out:
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y283/TJMac/What%20is%20this/HPIM1745.jpg

Moved into "position". I have no idea if that is a valid position for using it or not.
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y283/TJMac/What%20is%20this/HPIM1746.jpg
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y283/TJMac/What%20is%20this/HPIM1747.jpg

The back view, in "position".
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y283/TJMac/What%20is%20this/HPIM1748.jpg

Picture including case:
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y283/TJMac/What%20is%20this/HPIM0888Medium.jpg

Maybe something in these will give a further clue, and thanks to everyone who has ventured an opinion. (Especially Kleindoofy, who took the bull by the horns.)

TJ

kleindoofy
2010-Dec-15, 02:06 AM
Well, we now know what year it was made (1938), and the product number is legible (1672).

The product number should do the trick. The company should be able to look it up in their records. In other pictures I saw that other products from Gebr. Haff GmbH had a number like that in the same place.

The belt straps suggest it was used in the field, the scale of 1:25000 that it had something to do with maps (1:25000 is a very common map scale), and it was definitely for making calculations, probably on the go. I'm going with an outdoor planimeter for surveyors.

Btw, "LOS" means "loosen" and is probably meant to instruct the user which wheels to loosen and tighten (and which not) for making adjustments.

Are there any other markings anywhere on the case? Letters, symbols, numbers?

Torsten
2010-Dec-15, 02:07 AM
Are you sure there's no booklet of instructions scrunched into the bottom of the case? (runs and hides...)

Seriously, that is one impressive device, and I remain clueless about its function!

I notice the scales on the circular parts go to 64. My father's WW II marching compass was marked with 64 points.

I hope that Gebrüder HAFF has records of it.

Solfe
2010-Dec-15, 03:48 AM
That is one cool looking tool.

My guess is a surveyor's multitool: part slide rule and part drawing instrument. I base that guess on the fact that the scales run forwards and backwards, the case is very sturdy looking and it appears if you set it down, most of the tool would not contact the surface it rests on. The last point is important when inking, you don't want your ruler edge to contact the writing point causing streaking or inadvertent ink blots.

a1call
2010-Dec-15, 06:26 PM
These might be obvious the everyone but were news to me.
*- Gebruder Haff is the company name
*- G.M.B.H. indicates pretty much a privately held German company with limited liability (LLC)
*- Pfronten is a municipality in Bavaria
*- The 4 digit number after the company name does not seem to be a manufacturing date. It might be a serial number or incorporation or establishment date/s.

I have no clue to the function of the device but best guess would be a mechanical calculator for angles between sides of a triangle with known lengths. The smaller sliding measures might be Vernier scale (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernier_scale) for angles (which is unusual) for micro measurement of angles.

ETA: The unit of angle used by the device divides a circle to 64 pieces. This corresponds to the unit/markings on some compasses. This does not seem to be a particular unit of angles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Units_of_angle), but rather an alternate expression of:
NENNE= 3 units.

ETA-II: Have you considered contacting the Smithsonian, the British museum or Louvre? The might have similar devices and if not they will sure be interested in purchasing it.

kleindoofy
2010-Dec-15, 08:51 PM
...
*- Gebruder Haff is the company name
*- G.M.B.H. indicates pretty much a privately held German company with limited liability (LLC)
*- Pfronten is a municipality in Bavaria
*- The 4 digit number after the company name does not seem to be a manufacturing date. It might be a serial number or incorporation or establishment date/s ...
Ok, let's compliment that.

-- "Gebrüder" means "Brothers", ergo, "Haff Brothers"

-- GmbH means "Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung", i.e. "Company with limited liability."

-- Pfronten is in the south (southwest Bavaria), just minutes from the Austrian border and about 10-12 km away from Schloß Neuschwanstein (= the original "Disneyland" castle).

-- Unless that piece was manufactured about 50 years after the Pilgrims landed in what is today Plymouth MA, then yes, it's a unit number. The company was founded in 1835, as can be seen on the wesite cited above in post #6.

I have to correct what I wrote above about "LOS." It doesn't indicate *which* little wheels can be turned, but *which direction* they have to be turned to loosen them (LOS + arrow).

chrissy
2010-Dec-15, 09:06 PM
I have found this bit of information: Designers and manufacturers of surveying instruments (http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.history-of-geodesy.ch/images/upload/2010-11_Konstrukteure2-Bearb.MKH_Web-Version_490.pdf&ei=YSIJTZCQH4uChQevvuzBDw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CB8Q7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3DGebruder%2BHAFF%2BGMBH%2BPFRonten%2B1 672%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1T4GGLR_enGB282GB29 8%26prmd%3Div) go to page 9. :)

captain swoop
2010-Dec-15, 09:06 PM
It doesn't look like any kind of military device I have ever seen, it's too complicated. IF you wantto get your guns on target you need to be able to do it quickly, not sit fiddling with too many knobs and wheels and slides.

'Light Machine Guns' are ranged by firing them and watching where the tracer goes, you don't use anything like that. so the guy who overed the cash was either making it up or very mistaken.
Plus it has no markings so it would have been stolen and pawned in no time.

a1call
2010-Dec-15, 09:30 PM
Try setting all three arms to equal settings and see if the angle reads 10.666.

ETA: The images are still a bit low res. From one of the in position configurations (HPIM1747.jpg) I can estimate the following values for the arms:
13.3, 13.2, 5.4

The angular/heading reading of 14+ corresponds correctly to the expected angle of 79 degrees and validates the hypothesis of mechanical calculator of angles between sides of a triangle with known lengths. At least that is one of the functions.

ETA-II: You could also set known angles and read estimated lengths. But in either case vernier scale for angles for such a small device must have been an overkill.

Solfe
2010-Dec-16, 12:26 AM
I have a drafting class tomorrow. I will ask if my teacher has seen such a thing. I hate mysteries!

You could safely leave me in a room with a bag labeled "Secret Gifts for Phil" and I would never look in the bag. But if you hand me something and say "guess what it is" I go nuts until I figure it out or get an answer.

Phil/Solfe

geonuc
2010-Dec-16, 11:30 AM
I showed the photo a German colleague of mine, who graduated with a civil engineering degree from a German university in 1961 or so. He was impressed but had no idea what it is.

JohnD
2010-Dec-16, 11:54 AM
Ah, kleindoofy! Irony is a comedy weapon of self-destruction. Unless it's recognised as such by observers, it goes off in your face.

John

TJMac
2010-Dec-31, 06:56 AM
I finally received a second reply from Gebruder Haff. (no idea if that is the proper way to say that) The exact words:

As we know it is an instrument which is used by the military to determine
the distance to gun of the enemy.

Sorry, but we don't know more details

So I am at about the same place as I was before...

TJ

slang
2010-Dec-31, 10:03 AM
Well, no, at least its purpose seems certain now. Now you can narrow down your search for someone with the expertise to help you further. Artillery veterans organisations? Artillery training schools? Gun manufacturers? Maybe they have that proverbial "old guy who still hangs around and knows a lot".

TJMac
2010-Dec-31, 02:36 PM
That's a really good suggestion. I will have to look around and see who I can find that may have some people with artillery experience. May start with the local Veterans organization.

TJ

chrissy
2010-Dec-31, 10:51 PM
I think I might be able to help in that, but I will have to wait for a reply via e-mail.

kleindoofy
2011-Jan-01, 01:55 AM
... [I]As we know it is an instrument which is used by the military to determine the distance to gun of the enemy. ...
Yes, I had written an additional email to the company a few days ago linking your new photos and got basically the same email back:


Sehr geehrter Herr ...,

es handelt sich um ein Meßdreieck zur Bestimmung der Entfernung eines feindlichen Geschützes.

Weitere Einzelheiten sind uns jedoch nicht bekannt.

Wir hoffen, daß wir Ihnen etwas weiter geholfen haben.
That's almost the same as the text quoted above, except that the "instrument" is called a "Meßdreieck" which translates literally as "measurement triangle" and "gun" is "Geschütz" which usually means heavy artillery.


... So I am at about the same place as I was before ...
Not really.

From what I can tell (and deterime from the description of other "Meßdreiecke" on the net), a measurement triangle is used to determine an object's height or distance.

In this case, it would be an instrument used for visually tracking the trajectory of incoming artillery fire. Used with a 1:25.000 scale map, one could do an all-in-one calculation of the location of the artillery shooting at you and use that information for whatever you choose to do, presumedly to fire back.

A definition I found reads:


Meßdreieck: n. - plotting protractor (Arty).

Meßdreieckverfahren: n. - plotting-protractor method (protractor compensates for position offset and determines firing range on basis of range-finder and aiming-circle data)

A picture of a very, very simple triangle can be found here here (http://www.lehrmittel-reinhold.de/shop/web1554-e/produktbilder/5402677_D_5402676.jpg) (on sale here (http://www.lehrmittel-reinhold.de/cgi-bin-reinhold/shop/shop.pl?shop=web1554-h&w=1261518036&sp=de&shopvorschau=&SID=&kat=00333&Artikel=000000002524)).

A problem is that most of the websites in German that disuss these things are, put delicately, undesirable. Whereas collecting and discussing German WWII memorabilia may be a fun hobby in the US, anybody who does that here is somebody whom a democratically minded person would choose to avoid. Generally speaking, they trigger the primary target of Godwin's law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law) in an alarmingly realistic fashion, if you take my meaning.

Interestingly enough this page (http://www.wehrtechnikmuseum.de/Mitmachen_/mitmachen_.html) from a military museum says they're going to discuss exactly the instrument in question here (except that it has the company name Riefler (http://www.riefler.de/start.htm) on it) in "one of their next issues," but doesn't seem to have done so. The page was last modified in 2004. Since the people who run that museum most probably fit in with the description I gave in the preceeding paragraph, there is no way in heaven or earth that I am going to contact them. A quick google of the owner's name points to a one track mind with a stiff right arm. No, thank you.

Torsten
2011-Jan-01, 05:16 AM
I found this ~3.3 MB PDF British Mechanical Gunnery Computers of World War II (http://sydney.edu.au/engineering/it/research/tr/tr223.pdf). The figures in the appendices are very interesting and you may find some similarities to your device.

I haven't taken any time to look at it closely, but it seem to concern itself with naval gunnery. Your device, with the scale 1:25,000 inscribed on it, suggests to me that perhaps contour information from a topographic map was used to provide input for solutions where elevations differed, so it's probably more complicated than what's described in this report.

Hope this helps.

Happy New Year!

kleindoofy
2011-Jan-01, 06:29 AM
Well, following the protractor lead brought me to an instrument called the "Universal Bevel Protractor."

Google that and look at the pictures. I can't help but think that's it or at least close.

General protractor links: 1 (http://www.mathsinstruments.me.uk/page35.html), 2 (http://wn.com/protractor), 3 (http://www.ehow.com/list_7345683_types-protractors.html)

And these two pictures look strangely familiar: 1 (http://lh3.ggpht.com/_mc39Pdle-rU/S5KU7YRbM1I/AAAAAAAAAEg/WXllXVOmS3Q/Freiberger%20Germany%20Polar%20Co-ordinatograph.JPG), 2 (http://img.directindustry.com/images_di/photo-g/angle-protractor-174450.jpg)

I think that's the answer. I'm sure somebody could figure out how to use it.

Trebuchet
2011-Jan-01, 08:05 PM
Hmmm, I had a whole post written an hour ago and apparently forgot to send it!

That first link is wonderful -- I've already bookmarked his home page and spent an hour looking at that wonderful old stuff. It reminds me I must find one of my old slide rules for my "museum", which is a shelf of miscellaneous old (or not-so-old) stuff in my garage that's of interest to me. I'm thinking of sending an e-mail to the owner of that site with a link to this thread.

The device we're looking at is some sort of double protractor, with linear scales appropriate for maps. I wonder if it could have been used for finding a location/range given azimuth values from two different stations? Perhaps for positively locating a ship as seen from two different shore stations, or of a transmitter based on direction finding from two different receivers?

Update: I have e-mailed the website owner, perhaps he can help.

Trebuchet
2011-Jan-02, 03:16 PM
The device we're looking at is some sort of double protractor, with linear scales appropriate for maps. I wonder if it could have been used for finding a location/range given azimuth values from two different stations? Perhaps for positively locating a ship as seen from two different shore stations, or of a transmitter based on direction finding from two different receivers?

Update: I have e-mailed the website owner, perhaps he can help.

I heard back. He doesn't think my suggestion is correct, the instrument is too complex -- you can do what I suggest with a single protractor and a rule. His thoughts are along the line of artillery plotting or navigation at sea.

Solfe
2011-Jan-02, 08:32 PM
A classmate of mine was in the Navy and had access to a ton of old distance measuring equipment. Some of these devices were optical and used parallax to calculate distance. Simple in operation, but really complex in construction. (Dang it... I can't remember what he called them.)

I wonder if this device is only part of a whole contraption that is actually complex in nature, but super simple to use when set up.

a1call
2011-Jan-02, 08:46 PM
Sextant?

ETA:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sextant

ETA-II: A compass with 64 sections related to my earlier post:

ETA-III: BTW TJMac did you try setting all 3 arms to equal settings? If so what where the angle readings?

jfribrg
2011-Jan-06, 03:02 AM
Some of these devices were optical and used parallax to calculate distance. Simple in operation, but really complex in construction. (Dang it... I can't remember what he called them.)

This was my first thought when I saw it ( which was just now even though the thread is now several weeks old). As I understand it, there were binoculars that were essentially two widely separated refractor telescopes with mirrors focusing the light at the eyepieces. These two telescopes were not parallel and the angle could be adjusted. The operator would adjust the angle until the images of the two telescopes merged. The angle of the telescopes was a function of the range of the target. Undoubtedly, the angles were very small, so perhaps this instrument was part of that range finding contraption.

BTW, I can't remember the name of it either.

Trebuchet
2011-Jan-06, 03:56 AM
Rangefinder!

That's not what the object in the OP is, however.

One Skunk Todd
2011-Jan-06, 05:01 AM
On the back of the case, underneath the words, there is a stamp. Is it an anchor?

a1call
2011-Jan-06, 06:41 AM
From PetersCreek link in post 15:


There is also an Eagle stamping with the letters
(WaA 47)

ETA: More on Boxing the compass (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxing_the_compass):


The set of 32 named points can be increased by another 32 directions using half-points. These are constructed by taking the more important of the two directions it lies between and adding a half-point deviation toward a cardinal point. For instance, the direction between numbers 1 (North) and 2 (North by East) is "North-half-East"; that between numbers 3 (North-Northeast) and 4 (Northeast by North) is "North-Northeast-half-East", and so on. The set of directions can be increased yet again to a set of 128 named directions using quarter-points,[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxing_the_compass#cite_note-0) although for communicating heading (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Course_%28navigation%29) these fractional points have been superseded by degrees (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degree_%28angle%29) measured clockwise from North (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North).

Solfe
2011-Jan-10, 04:53 AM
Rangefinder, that was the word.

No, I don't think it IS a range finder, but I suspect that it is just as complex as far as the manufacture, but the usage maybe very simple.

I was making a comparision while I type in two different windows, one of which was a game... does nothing for my focus.

kleindoofy
2011-Jan-10, 01:08 PM
From PetersCreek link in post 15:

There is also an Eagle stamping with the letters
(WaA 47) ...
While the post on that forum only has a description and we can't be sure the case is exactly the same as ours, it sounds close enough to accept the similarity as a working thesis. Our picture doesn't show any detail and I can't determine if the blob is the Reichsadler (the Eagle holding that certain symbol), or not.

WaA = Waffenamt (weapons registry), and the stamp is a Waffenamtsabnahmestempel (weapons registry certification stamp).

A quick google shows that the number 47 seems to have been used for a variety of items. As far as I can see without digging further, they are mainly (all?) holsters of one kind or another, so maybe 47 was a general code for accepted holsters.

Once again, the problem with researching this item is the nature of the websites involved. Not nice.

wescjs2r1
2012-May-25, 03:27 AM
This is a very late reply to your question, but I have been searching for information on this device since 1973. Yours is the first info of any type I have found since then.
I also possess one of these. Mine is the exact same unit except there is not any manufacturing company information on mine. It has only the letters BEG located where yours lists Haff Brothers Inc. (English translation) as the maker. 1973 was a long time ago and I knew that mine had been brought to the USA in 1945 when my father returned from WW2. I went to a military collector where I lived at the time (Indiana PA). He had a book listing the German military codes for manufacturers. BEG indeed was Haff Brothers just as other contributors have said. I took a photograph of it and sent it with a letter to the company, Snail mail, no internet or email in 1973. I received a reply, which I have since lost, from a gentleman at Haaf brothers explaining the use. No instruction manuals were available that he knew of. There were many thousands made. The name of the device indeed means "measures three angles" as I was told in the letter I received. If any one is upset because it is a Nazi military device, I'm sorry but that war was over a long time ago and it doesn't take away from the beauty of the workmanship and design. The letter I got (remember there were a lot more people alive at the company in 1973 that were alive during the war than there are now) said that it's use was to calculate the angles required enable two artillery pieces at different locations to shoot to the same aiming point. Remember the 1:25000 map scale listed on the units. They had no further information to give me even that long ago. Still looking for an instruction manual if anyone can come up with one. You are luckier than I. I have no case for mine. I don't know what they are made of but mine has no corrosion on it either, in spite of the fact that they are almost 70 years old. I thought it was stainless steel but a magnet is attracted to mine. I have done no cleaning or any type of special storage except wrapping it in a clean cotton towel. Well that is what I know and was happy to find your thread. Lots of good guesses, but it is a military artillery calculator from WW2. Again I repeat It doesn't make you a bad person to appreciate fine craftsmanship in a military item. Engineering is apolitical even if the device was ordered by evil politicians.

slang
2012-May-25, 08:51 PM
Welcome to BAUT, wescjs2r1. Thanks for signing up and sharing that!

publiusr
2012-May-25, 09:34 PM
I wonder if MEMs might allow a return to this level of workmanship at very small scales. Computer chips will resemble huge boxes at the smallest scale, so mechanical devices that have different structures might be useful. Say a return to rope memory via nanocables that can also serve as tiny legs. Watchmakers/music box makers are about all that is left now that computers have taken everything over. I think the old Curta calculator came out of WWII as well.

Were I to take over public schools, kids would learn Napiers bones one year, a miniature ENIAC the next, slide rules, and wait until High School for modern computers so as to teach appreciation...

TJMac
2012-May-26, 12:01 AM
Thank you sir, the information is greatly appreciated. I did send pictures and a query to the company via email, at one point, and got a simple reply that it was an instrument used in calculating artillery. (Or words to that effect, I cannot find that email now.)

I was told by a collector of German memorabilia, that it should have a military marking on it if it was indeed Military related. I am surprised that it is so difficult to find information on them, given that there were quite a few produced.

I work with steel myself for a living, and I highly appreciate things that are very well made. This piece is, and kudos to whomever it was that put in the effort to make such a fantastic piece.

You have inspired me to go poke around the internet a bit more....


TJ

TJMac
2012-May-26, 12:30 AM
I found this site, which gives a basic description of how such a device is used, and shows a couple other very similar samples.

http://www.lovettartillery.com/Field%20Artillery%20Fire%20Direction%20Plotters.ht ml

TJ

Torsten
2012-May-26, 10:33 PM
Wow, if I understand that description correctly, it turns out to have the simple function of determining distance by triangulation.

Van Rijn
2012-May-27, 12:28 AM
Wow, if I understand that description correctly, it turns out to have the simple function of determining distance by triangulation.

Also apparently the deflection (how high to point) the gun to get the shells to go the distance. Today it's trivial to do that with a simple program on a chip, but back then an analog computer like this could be helpful.

billslugg
2012-May-27, 04:24 AM
Also apparently the deflection (how high to point) the gun to get the shells to go the distance.

I looked real close at the pictures and I see three linear vernier scales, one for each leg. I also see two vernier angular scales. I do not see any other scales, say that might be used for calculating the altitude setting of the artillery piece. That would have to be a sine scale.

Tobin Dax
2012-May-27, 01:40 PM
I looked real close at the pictures and I see three linear vernier scales, one for each leg. I also see two vernier angular scales. I do not see any other scales, say that might be used for calculating the altitude setting of the artillery piece. That would have to be a sine scale.

That still seems like the device is for getting the azimuth angle at which to fire. The altitude angle would be based on the distance to the target, the gun, and other environmental factors, wouldn't it? I would expect that those calculations were done separately since they were required every time the gun was fired.

TJMac
2012-May-28, 03:01 PM
I sent an email to the owner of that site that I linked to previously. He replied back that he had never seen an instruction manual for these type devices, and had figured out their use by his own experience with artillery and by self study of the instruments.

He also said something that I thought curious. These devices were not one of a kind items, but were made in quantity. However, altho its very rare to actually see one, they are not actually worth a great deal. I don't really care about the worth of it, (ok, maybe a little bit, for the gee whiz factor) but I was under the impression that a rare item just tended to have more worth than say, if you saw one every time you walked into a pawn shop.

I have yet to find anyone with artillery experience that would have any ideas on it. (not because there aren't any, but because I haven't looked)

TJ

wescjs2r1
2012-May-28, 10:36 PM
TJMac Your unit has the company name on it. The picture of the case is stamped 1938. The war did not openly start until 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. My unit only has the letters BEG on it. As I told you in my earlier post I consulted an old classified book containing German military manufacturer's codes. My assumption is that my unit is newer than yours, made after open hostilities commenced. The military naturally wouldn't want to advertise the exact locations of their factories to any Allied intelligence units that would capture one of the instruments. I'm not totally sure of this assumption but it makes sense.
Thanks for the link. I still want to find an instruction book. If I do I will email a PDF copy to you.

Jens
2012-May-29, 01:54 AM
but I was under the impression that a rare item just tended to have more worth than say, if you saw one every time you walked into a pawn shop.


It's certainly true that rarity is one of the factors that influences the worth of an item, but it's not the only thing. Desirability is another major factor. For example, apparently blue is the most common color of sapphire, but it is also the most valuable, because people tend to want blue sapphires rather than other colored ones, which are actually more rare. Or for example, original paintings are all extremely rare (just one exists), but some are very valuable and others are not.

vonmazur
2012-May-29, 02:46 AM
I was in the Artillery once...There are more than just the factors named above, for certain large caliber weapons, the rotation of the earth had to be considered, as a factor of direction of aim....In the 60's, they had a bunch of charts that were used to calculate all of the factors, including the adiabatic cooling rate, air temp, wind, etc etc...Then there was the probability chart, that was centered over the target....It got complicated very fast....Today they have computers, but I presume all of the manual calculations are still taught at Ft Sill....( I Hope!)

Dale

vonmazur
2012-May-29, 02:51 AM
TJMac Your unit has the company name on it. The picture of the case is stamped 1938. The war did not openly start until 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. My unit only has the letters BEG on it. As I told you in my earlier post I consulted an old classified book containing German military manufacturer's codes. My assumption is that my unit is newer than yours, made after open hostilities commenced. The military naturally wouldn't want to advertise the exact locations of their factories to any Allied intelligence units that would capture one of the instruments. I'm not totally sure of this assumption but it makes sense.
Thanks for the link. I still want to find an instruction book. If I do I will email a PDF copy to you.

wes: I am a collector of this stuff, the Germans began using manufacturers codes in 1934, in 1942, Albert Speer had them changed to letters. Of course the mfg codes are sometimes confused with the Waffenamt Inspectors Codes....The fellows at the various weapons forums have this all covered, many times over...There is even a site with most of the codes listed, but there are errors-(naturally after all this time)

Dale

publiusr
2012-Jun-02, 05:56 PM
I wonder how this might be incorporated into ballistics:
http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/28/11920006-16-year-olds-equations-set-off-buzz-over-325-year-old-physics-puzzler?lite

Might be nice for someone to do one last version of this instrument if a way can be found to add the function discovered recently.

TJMac
2012-Jun-03, 04:25 PM
wes: I am a collector of this stuff, the Germans began using manufacturers codes in 1934, in 1942, Albert Speer had them changed to letters. Of course the mfg codes are sometimes confused with the Waffenamt Inspectors Codes....The fellows at the various weapons forums have this all covered, many times over...There is even a site with most of the codes listed, but there are errors-(naturally after all this time)

Dale

Any chance you have links to some of those forums? I did some looking at one time, but either due to lack of diligence, or wrong search terms, never found anything that gave me information of any type.

TJ

vonmazur
2012-Jun-04, 12:31 AM
Sure, I have to go dig out the links....http://proofhouse.com/cm/ger_ord_codes.htm This is best one I have encountered, and there is no political content, just lists of codes and to whom they belong....Much of the research was done by collectors of this sort of thing, and they have been at it since 1946!! If it were not for these guys, and their curiosity about this subject, much of the data would have been lost or forgotten....

There are forums as well: http://www.surplusrifleforum.com is the one where I am stuck moderating, and I have adopted some of the BAUT Forum policies there, so there are no ethnic or racist posts allowed, just discussion of the equipment and similar subjects. This one is also very good and has a lot of knowledgeable members like SRF:http://www.milsurps.com/index.php They do not allow any sort of ranting and raving either!!

Dale

vonmazur
2012-Jun-04, 12:46 AM
One more thing that was not made clear in the posts above; The leather gear was proofed and supplied seperately from the items that were intended to be stored in such things... So the "WaA 47" mark with the "Pleitege Geier", that was mentioned would only lead to the maker of the case. If the object is coded and inspected, then one can search the code and the inspector's mark for further information...For example, there are a lot of leather goods makers with their own code and inspector, but usually only one maker of the Pistol or whatever they used it for...(Rifles are an exception as the Germans during this era had a lot of manufacturers making virtually the same weapon, so it can get complicated very quickly...)

Dale

wescjs2r1
2012-Jun-05, 04:54 AM
vonmazur: Thanks for the links. We may be getting closer to instructions (or not), But half the fun is in the research.

vonmazur
2012-Jun-06, 04:26 AM
Wes: Glad to help....I deal with this sort of stuff for a living, and moderate some of the boards that also concern themselves with such items...This is unusual, and I have never encountered one of these from Germany before....

Dale

swampyankee
2012-Jun-15, 08:37 PM
I wonder if MEMs might allow a return to this level of workmanship at very small scales. Computer chips will resemble huge boxes at the smallest scale, so mechanical devices that have different structures might be useful. Say a return to rope memory via nanocables that can also serve as tiny legs. Watchmakers/music box makers are about all that is left now that computers have taken everything over. I think the old Curta calculator came out of WWII as well.
Were I to take over public schools, kids would learn Napiers bones one year, a miniature ENIAC the next, slide rules, and wait until High Schhol for modern computers so as to teach appreciation...

Precision mechanical equipment is still made; it's just that very little of it is seen by consumers: no one needs planimeters or mechanical analogue computers, because we can use digital methods. MEMS is really a cool technology. I especially like the shirt button-sized gas turbine (Brayton cycle) and steam power systems (Rankine cycle; steam turbine, boiler, and condenser!) I want a million RPM turbogenerator for my laptop.

digitalscreamcmb
2012-Jun-15, 09:03 PM
I was thinking it was an angle checker. like a trig cheater tool. Perhaps u could measure the angle then scale it up to measure height, or distance? All though a wild guess. What ever it is, it looks very cool, and an interesting conversation piece. I was just looking at the picture wondering what it could be. Maybe for military use, maybe engineer use, regardless pretty cool looking tool.

michaelh
2014-Mar-29, 12:46 PM
hi tj,
i am new to this group.i also have one of these.it is identical to yours,except it has "beg 3455" stamped on the dial where yours has the makers mark.it was given to me by someone who was a collector of naval artifacts.he also gave me a large empty brass artillery shell.he did not know what is was used for either,but he suspected,as do i,that it is some kind of naval artillery measuring/calculating device.if i find out any info.on this,i will be happy to pass it on.i have been half-heartily looking for the answer to this for a few years.it has no sentimental value,so i may sell it to the right person after i find out exactly what it is and the value of it.thanks.

wescjs2r1
2014-Sep-02, 02:25 PM
hi tj,
i am new to this group.i also have one of these.it is identical to yours,except it has "beg 3455" stamped on the dial where yours has the makers mark.it was given to me by someone who was a collector of naval artifacts.he also gave me a large empty brass artillery shell.he did not know what is was used for either,but he suspected,as do i,that it is some kind of naval artillery measuring/calculating device.if i find out any info.on this,i will be happy to pass it on.i have been half-heartily looking for the answer to this for a few years.it has no sentimental value,so i may sell it to the right person after i find out exactly what it is and the value of it.thanks.

Michaelh;

...and you make three.

This forum has talked about this device for a couple of years now. Apparently none of us have come up with instructions for it's use although we now know what it was used for.

You got yours from a naval source and I know mine came from the German Army artillery. I'm not sure about tj's but I would guess Army.

Mine won't be sold because it does have sentimental value for me. Of course so does the Mauser K98 that I have hunted with all my life, and the set of German aircraft files that I still use in my workshop.

It still amazes me that there is so little information on a device that was made in the "many thousands" before and during WW2. It must have been issued to many German artillerymen both land and sea

based.

Thanks for adding one more piece of knowledge to our admittedly limited supply. We now know that it had Naval use also (or apparently so) from your post.

Keep searching and checking this thread. Everybody likes a good puzzle. To quote Robert Heinlein "no research is a waste". My memory just told me that's probably more of a paraphrase than quote.

Moderator: Keep the thread up as long as you can, thanks.

WES

rratliff01
2016-Apr-04, 05:11 PM
First I am also new to this forum. I attempted to post a reply but think I hit a wrong button. If this turns out to be a duplicate, I apologize.

I too own one of these machines, mine is marked "Riefler No. 2288." I have also not been able to find anything about it's history, but I did figure out how to make it work. It resolves trig functions, but cannot directly calculate where a projectile will land because it has no input for velocity or ballistic coefficient. I have no idea why, but this thing divides a circle into 64 units, or 5.625 degrees per unit. I will give a simple example of it's use, but this will work for any triangle. For this example I will call the short scale between the two angle adjustment knobs "X." With X at the bottom, I will call the long arm on the left "Y" and the arm on the right side "R." Also note that if you set both angles to same number the arms are parallel.

Set the angle scale on the left to 16 (90 degrees) so will have a right triangle. Set the X scale to 10. Set the right side angle to 20 (112.5 degrees.) Here is the secret. Both angles start from the same place, so the angle on the right side is in fact 180 - 112.5 or 67.5 degrees. Next, cos(theta) = X / R or R = 10 / tan(67.5) = 26.1. My R scale reads 26. Next, sin(theta) = Y / R so Y = sin(67.5) x 26.1 = 24.1. My Y scale reads 24.

Just as with any trig function, you need 2 angles and 1 side, or 2 sides and 1 angle to find the other 3 numbers.

Take care,
Roger.

rratliff01
2016-Apr-04, 05:41 PM
The line "Next, cos(theta) = X / R or R = 10 / tan(67.5) = 26.1." should be "Next, cos(theta) = X / R or R = 10 / cos(67.5) = 26.1."
Sorry 'bout that,
Roger.

Torsten
2016-Apr-04, 06:28 PM
I have no idea why, but this thing divides a circle into 64 units, or 5.625 degrees per unit
Take care,
Roger.

Welcome, Roger.

The circle is divided into the Points of the Compass (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Points_of_the_compass), which is just another way of subdividing a circle based on repeated halving.