The amazing Tatjana J. van Vark builds incredible analog devices


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It is incomprehensible to me that as far as I can tell from Google, Boing Boing has never featured the work of this incredible woman. She has been designing and building scientific analog hardware for sixty years now. The early work on her website is more utilitarian, but now that she’s retired, she’s branched out into more whimsical projects. And every single one makes nearly all of the “steampunk” artwork out there look amateurish.

From a reimagined enigma machine to an electrical calculator that uses no electronic parts. From a box that performs mechanical Fourier analysis and synthesis to a working reconstruction of the Antikythera mechanism. Every project is a work of incredible beauty and also fully functional.

Her website is not very talkative, but makes up for it with dozens of lovely photos of her work. There’s an English subtitled <a href=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1ODwgX_KkQ>video interview/tour of her home and workshop on youtube, where she shows how some of her gadgets work and which reveals that her living room is decorated with a working analog telephone switch (but of course). There aren’t many articles about her online that provide more information than the video and her somewhat enigmatic website do, but this profile includes photos of her workshop.


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