The Electronic Museum in Tettnang

In the south of Germany, in a little town called Tettnang, lies a museum that shows history of electronics from the first radio until modern time. The museum itself has décor from the ´50s in two stories. In the museum there are stations with experiments where visitors can try different things from the past. These experiments will, in a pedagogic and clarifying way, describe how the complex phenomenon works. Besides the actual museum, Tettnang is a nice town with a large gastronomic range to offer. Since the museum is very central, it is a natural starting point for a historical city tour. You will easily find several restaurants and cafés just outside the museum, so the visitors will never feel hungry.  

Exhibitions


The museum is divided into sections to give the visitor a context from beginning of techniques to the society of today where technique is very advanced. Communications is one of the sections. The museum offers a collection of radios from the ´20s and even though they don´t offer the same range as the large radio museums, it shows an interesting cross section of different types that has occurred in our homes in the last decade. The largest radio at the museum is one of the few copies of a LOEWE-radio with the famous triple pipe. This historical titbit was donated by a local priest a few years ago.  

Computers


The first computers to be used, generation one and two, are divided into two different types, pipeline-computer and transistor-computer. The exhibitions show a wide range of both kinds. At the exhibition of pipeline-computers you get a special feeling of the manual labour behind the making since all parts are handmaid. At the pipeline-exhibition you can get an estimate of the extreme amount of manual labour that lies behind the product. All components are manually soldered. In the transistor-exhibition there is one of the first models of IBM´s, the IBM 1401.

IBM 1401 image via Flickr
IBM 1401 image via Flickr

Measuring- and movie-equipment


Using technique when measuring a distance is not new. In the section for electronic measuring equipment there is a whole range of things to look at. For example, there is an oscilloscope from PEK and Tektronix and some different laboratory equipment, from the ´50s, ´60s and ´70s, to both look at and maybe try out. The development in movie-technique is also very interesting to look at. The classic way of filming with a camera has been shoved away for digital pictures and storing. Between 1880 and 1895 the first photographic movies were produced. In the exhibition you can read about the classic movie makers Louis Le Prince, William KL Dickson and Thomas Alva Edison. In 1927 the first movie with sound was available in the commercial market in the movie “The Jazz-Singer”. To crown the exhibition there are two Lanterna Magica-units that are more than 100 years old. These units are still working and were given to the museum by the Jockwitz family.

Lanterna Magica
Lanterna Magica

The club


The friend of the Electronic Museum is a club started in 2002. Through their work, they show the progress for Tettnang as an electronic centre. Since the middle of the 20th century many high-tech products, like measuring equipment and sensors, have come to life in the area. The club, with its 140 members, work as a link between schools, manufacturers and private visitors and sponsors. It is also a member of the club that offers tours in the museum to the public.