List of Physical Visualizations
and Related Artifacts

1949 – Moniac: A Hydromechanical Machine to Teach Economics

The MONIAC or Phillips machine is a hydromechanical analog computer built to teach basic economical principles using colored water flowing in transparent pipes. The machine was built in 1951 after electrical-engineer-turned-economist William Phillips and his economist colleague Walter Newlyn realized that flows were used as a metaphor to teach economics, but have never been made physical. Phillips is also known for his eponymous curves. Several MONIACs were built, and a working one is permanently displayed at the Economics Department of Cambridge University.


  1. Bissell (2007) The Moniac: A Hydromechanical Analog Computer of the 1950s.
  2. The museum of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand also has a working MONIAC and a Youtube video explaining it.
  3. Image from
  4. Morgan & Boumans (1998) The Secrets Hidden by Two-Dimensionality: Modelling the Economy as a Hydraulic System.
  5. The original article by the creator of the machine: Philips (1950) Mechanical Models in Economic Dynamics.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic on December 28, 2014. Category: Physical model Tags: , , , , , , ,