My father was a scientist and engineer. His side of the family was filled with engineers of various types. Whenever my father needed a task to be completed which required any sort of repetitive motion or labor, he would typically build a machine to perform the task.
The machine shown here was built to control a series of electromagnets for some sort of early robotic device or sculpture. My father built it around 1960, but unfortunately he was not a good wordsmith, and therefore, left no written documentation as to how the machine functions, or what task it was designed to perform. What is known, however, is that the machine was built as a mechanical / electrical sequencer that would automatically supply electricity to various outputs on a sequenced and/or timed basis, depending on the input it recieved.