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Prior to the advent of computers, draftsmen had to use dedicated mechanisms to plot curves. One such instrument was the parabolograph [1], simulated in this Demonstration and on display in the London Science Museum [2].


The red pen is connected to a series of bars and sliders. As the pen moves from left to right, it plots the parabola . You can vary the parameter with its slider to move the green bar in the mechanism. You can vary the angle with a slider to rotate the magenta bar.


Contributed by: Erik Mahieu (November 2014)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA




[1] DMG-Lib. "Vyatkin Link-Gear Parabolograph." (Nov 11, 2014)

[2] Science Museum, London. "Payne-Coradi Parabolograph." (Nov 11, 2014)

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