Friday, June 08, 2007

Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany

This museum of Science and Technology impressed us with its vast range of subjects, each explored in comprehensive detail. We spent about 6 hours here, and Case, I am convinced, could have spent much more. I reached information overload about midafternoon, though, and was thereafter found slumbering on a convenient bench!

We started with airplanes (no surprise there) and ships, but there was soooo much more!! Unfortunately, our camera battery was on the wane, so you're spared lots of technical photos that Case, in his rapture, might otherwise have taken.
Germany's U1 submarine, a prototype from WWI, was ordered destroyed with all other weaponry in the Treaty of Versailles. The museum's patron, however, managed to intervene and it is preserved here as a fascinating glimpse into submarine history.
We were amused to find the potty placed in the forward torpedo room. No wasted space here! And, oh, the ship-board conversations that positively leap to the imagination: "Well, boys, that was a great breakfast! I think I'll just go launch a torpedo and then we'll do some trial runs at periscope depth..."

The U1 carried a crew of 12-22 souls. Bunk rooms were shared with batteries.

The engine room displays diesel and electric drives, and controlling switchboards. I've seen cutaway drawings of submarines, but a cutaway submarine is much more dramatic!

The aircraft section: I'll leave it to Case to fill in the details...

I suppose there are only a few places on earth where one can see all these in one room: The world's first two jet-powered bombers (above left, below center) -- both German and both, I believe, Messerschmidts -- the world's first cruise missile (above right) -- the German V1 buzz-bomb -- and just a few steps out of the picture, the worlds first rocket missile -- the German V2 missile.

I was impressed with the breadth of the museum, but more with its depth. To get to the section on cars, for example, you must pass through the displays on mining metal ores, move on to smelting and purification, rolling of sheet metal, rivet technology, and so on! The computer section was similarly broad. I saw mechanical tools there that I had never before thought of as simple computers -- but they are.

A number of the captions appeared to me to be a bit abstruse. After reading one, I might know exactly where the displayed item fit into the spectrum computing devices, yet still not have a ghost of a notion about what it might do, or who might use it. I was tempted to attribute this to German complexity, but the German captions being 2-4 times as lengthy as the English ones, I thought perhaps something was missed in translation. Then again...

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