The ternary calculating machine of Thomas Fowler
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Thomas Fowler

Balanced ternary arithmetic

Fowler's binary and ternary tables

DeMorgan's description

The reconstruction

About the machine
Carry mechanism
Instructions for use
Video demonstration

Photo gallery

References and links



Fowler's ternary calculating machine - the carry mechanism

During a calculation, an individual product rod could potentially be pushed more than the one unit allowed for balanced ternary notation. To correct this, a manually operated carry mechanism converts these overflows into the correct notation.

The carry mechanism works on only two adjacent product rods at a time. A gear train with a 3:1 reduction ratio engages racks on the tops of the product rods. As the lower order product rod slides by three units in one direction, the other higher order product rod slides one unit in the other direction. A three-unit long slot in the frame of the carry mechanism serves to guide the motion of the lower order product rod.

This carry operation would have to be performed several times during the course of a lengthy calculation.


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