Konrad Zuse (1910-1995)
Zuse was a brilliant engineer who worked independently to build programmable computers, but his early machines were destroyed in World War II. After the war, his company Zuse KG became a successful computer manufacturer. Zuse was also a prolific painter.
Konrad Zuse was bored. A civil engineering student in Berlin, he hated his job’s tedious calculations. So, as an engineer in 1936, he began assembling metal plates, pins and discarded movie film into what became the Z1—the first of several mechanical computers.
Working on his own, Zuse developed machines with many features of later computers.
Zuse Z1 in living room
Konrad Zuse, with his friend Helmut Schreyer, built the Z1 computer in his parents’ living room between 1936 and 1938. It launched many years of pioneering work on computing machines.View Artifact Detail
Z1 binary gate (replica)
Konrad Zuse built this functioning replica of a binary gate used in his mechanical 1936 Z1 computer, which was inspired by the “Stabilbaukasten” construction toy. Zuse envisioned a mechanical system that linked and operated calculators automatically.View Artifact Detail