Digitalization? An old hat!

FROM HELMUT BRESLER

No discussion and no lecture can do without the current buzzword. The digital revolution or digital transformation is the focus of all topics. A new trend? Not at all. Water under the bridge. A brief look into history.

What please have the historical fair organ with the two keywords “Automation” and “Digitalization”? You won’t believe it – pretty much A lot. The almost extinct mechanical musical instrument plays with punch cards, the forerunners of modern digitization technology. And she plays with a distinctive volume, replaces almost an entire orchestra. After about 20 minutes the perforated tape has passed through and needs to be replaced.

Folding cardboard notes, also called books (pictured), are cardboard sheets folded as leporello stored. The music and tax information for the the instruments are punched as holes, as it were “zero” and “one”.

From the second half of the 19th century onwards, showmen tried to arouse the curiosity of the public with an organ and placed it in front of their carousel installations. At the end of the 1920s they became unfashionable with the first record players and amplification systems and disappeared. Today, only a few of them are still ready to play and enchant the audience like on the first day – thanks to digitalisation technology.

By the way, the principle of Hole card ancient. Invented by an American entrepreneur and engineer – Herman Hollerith, born 1860. With its Hollerith punch cards and its Hollerith machine, he revolutionized the processing of large amounts of data and created, figuratively speaking, the first “computer”. In fact, the first functional computer by Konrad Ernst Zuse, who in 1910 in Berlin the world. The so-called Z3 developed by him was the first fully automatic, program-controlled and freely programmable computers in the world – a real Sensation. Even if, with today’s data processing technology, it is performance and also the claimed place has nothing in common.

The next time you see and hear a fairground organ playing – think of digitalization technology and take a look at the punch cards. Without them many things would not have been possible today …

Leave a Reply