In this conext, you might also be interested in the work of Tatajana van Vark:
She actually can build things like that - and a bit more if you take a closer look at her "harmonium". She also replicated the Antikythera mechanism. Awesome work if you ask me.
And, as mentioned before, don't forget to take a look at the Curta: http://www.vcalc.net/cu.htm