“The Most Beautiful Machine” is an idea of Claude E. Shannon, who died in 2001. His “Mathematical Theory of Communication” is the fundament of the digital machine. It’s a communication based on the functions ON and OFF. In this special case the observers are supposed to push the ON button. After a while the lid of the trunk opens, a hand comes out and turns off the machine. The trunk closes – that’s it!. [via] Link.
0 thoughts on “Machine turns itself off, that’s it…”
Do you know of a toy version of the ultimate machine that was popular in the 1950s? It was a skeleton hand that came out of the box and turned the switch off…it was a novelty item. I am trying to find the name and a picture of it.
I do remember the commercial toy.
I tried contacting the successors to the Johnson-Smith novelty catalog without much luck.
A large academic research library, with collections of ephemera, might have Johnson-Smith and other catalogs from the appropriate period. A couple of sources, e.g.
http://www.genetics.org/cgi/content/full/159/3/915 recall seeing Shannon demonstrate the UM on TV in the 50’s.
A kinescope of that would be priceless. If the Museum of Broadcasting has detailed archival material on likely shows, such as Garry Moore’s “I’ve Got a Secret”, that would also be worth some research.
I have a dim childhood memory of this device and have been looking for it for years without success. But I recently saw it again: on a rerun of an old TV show from the 60s – “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”.
In this episode (Season 1, Episode 10), a young Kurt Russell plays a boy who has a novelty version of the machine, made out of black plastic with a large metal toggle switch to activate the mechanism. It appears in Act 1 and again in Act 3, where it is used as a distraction to thwart the bad guys.
If anyone out there discovers or recreates one of these gadgets, please contact me via my website, http://www.cartania.com.