Mr. Edzard Timmer was a leading educator and an early Lectron System contributor and was the first Lectron System designer to develop a model meant to demonstrate biological behaviors. This model was developed for Braun not only as a new standalone model to their lineup. The Kybernetik 1 learning module was also incorporated into another existing model, the Ausbausystem 2 M, but it had its own instruction manual which was added to the 2 M. This was the first and last time that Braun added a new subject matter to an existing model. Braun could have just as easily made the Kybernetik 1 topic into its own ausbausytem model.
Mr. Timmer was born in 1928-OCT-29. He married and had three daughters (Eva, Ilse and Susanne) and one son (Jan) (who works for Siemens). He spent his professional life as a physics teacher in Osnabrück and later in Tarmstedt at the Kooperative GesamtSchule until retiring in 1993.
Identifying Mr. Timmer as the designer of the Kybernetik models took some doing. His name was not listed in the Braun Kybernetik 1 instruction manual. I was finally able to identify and subsequently locate Mr. Timmer by finding his name and address on a document which had been sent to Mr. Manfred Walter back in 1975. This document and others relating to Mr. Timmer and his Lectron System models were found during one of my LectronRWO visits. The document contained corrections to the Cybernetic 1 model.
Fortunately, Mr. Timmer remained at the address of listed in the letter through the years and I was able to retrieve his phone number from an Internet search. My research colleague, Günther Stabe, called and set up an appointment with his wife to visit at his home on 2015-JUL-28.
Sadly, Mr. Timmer was not well and could not speak. Mr. Timmer’s wife and daughter Susanne were present however and helped answer questions and very generously gave numerous one of a kind Lectron System artifacts and documents from Mr. Timmer’s personal collection to Mr. Stabe. Most of these items were in turn given to me for the Lectron.Info museum. We were also given the photo above showing Mr. Timmer in his classroom circa 1966.
Mr. Stabe was able to see many remarkable Lectron related historical items in Mr. Timmer’s cellar. Included was the remarkable 3 tier wireless remote control vehicle (Drahtlose Fernlenkung). It was controlled by one of three different circuits which occupied the board on the first level: light directed to a photocell, sound directed to the loudspeaker which was repurposed as a microphone, and radio control using an AM transmitter. The photocell circuit is shown in the photo to the left. Talk about design versatility!
The Lectron System logic on the bottom tier controlled the motors of the vehicle. One motor provided the forward and backward motion while the second motor provided the left and right direction. The top caption reads “Inputs from the sensors“. The bottom caption reads “Vor = Forward — Zurück = Backward — Links = Left — Rechts = Right“.
A more complete graphical representation of the vehicle in the below carousel. Mr. Stabe recreated the vehicle and took the color photos that are in this gallery. He also created the two drawings that start off the carousel.
The motor control section of the vehicle was shown in a later Braun multi-page brochure. Mr. Stabe pointed out an error in the circuit which would have caused the second transistor to fail in the flip flop function.
Mr. Timmer was a great believer in the Lectron System and was interested in developing new models. Once again, Mr. Max Gürth was there to help. Mr. Gürth had developed numerous new blocks between 1971 and 1972 to demonstrate digital technologies in a forthcoming Lectron System model that he was going to develop. Unfortunately, this was at the time when Braun was divesting itself of the Lectron System assets and distributorship arrangement with Deutsche Lectron and Braun was therefore disinclined to pursue the expense of developing new models. Mr. Gürth and Mr. Timmer first met in 1973 at a meeting in the city of Karlsruhe. Mr. Gürth donated numerous blocks of his own design to Mr. Timmer for the latter’s own development projects. The bulk of these blocks were based on the Siemens TTL chip set that was compatible with the 74xx chip family.
The meeting at which Mr. Timmer and Mr. Gürth met at also included Mr. Heinz Saucke and Mr. Hartmut Birett. They all attended a special conference devoted to the mathematical and natural sciences, the MNU-Tagung. From an internal Lectron, GmbH memo dated 1973-APR-26: “The MNU (mathematischen und naturwissenschaftlichen Unterrichts) conference in Karlsruhe was a big success. The new systems for elementary physics (Physik Experimentell by Mr. Saucke) and biology (Funktionsmodelle model by Mr. Birett) was particularly well received. You will receive more information at our next meeting. The earliest that these systems can be delivered is the beginning of next year (1974). Mr. Timmer, Mr. Saucke, Mr. Birett and Mr. Gürth, four of our authors, were very busy to inform upcoming teachers.” The complete memo is available through a link to the PDF on my Google Drive. The complete English translation of the document is on page 3 of the PDF.
Some of those blocks that Mr. Gürth developed and gave to Mr. Timmer are shown below. Mr. Timmer’s wife generously gave them to Günther Stabe who in turn gave them to me for the Lectron.Info museum.
As a fun bit of trivia, according to Mrs. Timmer, both Mr. Timmer and Mr. Walter enjoyed sailing boats large enough to be able to make France. Mr. Timmer’s boat was a bit smaller than Mr. Walter’s. They would sail separately to somewhere in France. How would they have done that, via the Rhine?
Mr. Timmer’s activities after his involvement with the Lectron System were not detailed by Mrs. Timmer. The questions may not have even been posed. Mr. Timmer was still active in education matters and even at 80 years old, was a contributor to a conference held in 2008 from whence the picture on the left was taken.
After a protracted illness, Mr. Timmer passed away at home on 2016-JUN-13.
UPDATE — 2021-JUN-12:
I was able to spend some time with Mr. Timmer’s son Jan and his family during my trip to Germany back in 2019. I am holding a Braun era graphic showing his father’s light steered ‘car’ that was featured in the Ausbausystem 2M, a harbinger of the future that Telsa has leveraged with their vehicles.
For a more complete account of this visit, please see the Lectron Forum article detailing my trip to Germany in 2019.