Kanrad Zuse



Kanrad Zuse was born on June 22, 1910 in Berlin-Wilmersdorf.   Zuse began studying at the Technical University in Berlin-Charlottenburg in 1927.  He also began working as an aircraft design engineer.  He completed his civil engineering degree in 1935.  During the period of 1936-1938 Zuse invented and built  electromechanical binary computer designated Z1 which was destroyed without trace by wartime bombing.  A copy of this computer is on display in the Museum for Transport and Technology ("Museum fur Verkehr und Technik") (since 1989) in Berlin.  Zuse developed two more machines before the end of the war but was unable to convince the Nazi government to support his work.  The third of these machines. the Z3, was finished in 1941 and represents first fully functional program-controlled electromechanical digital computer. The Z3 was destroyed in 1944 during the war. Its historical importance led to the fabrication of  a copy of the Z3 in 1960 which is  displayed in the German Museum ("Deutsches Museum") in Munich.   Allied air raids on Berlin forced the relocation of the remnants of the Z3 and the almost completed Z4 to the Aerodynamische Versuchanstalt (DVL/Experimental Aerodynamics Institute) in Gottingen.  Within a few weeks Gottingen and the Z4 faced possible capture by allied forces.  The machine traveled to "Hinterstein," a village in the Allgau/Bavaria. Finally Zuse fled the collapsing Germany to Zurich Switzerland with the remnants of his Z3 and the Z4, the only machine to survive the war intact.  Zuse and the Z4 took residence in Zurich's ETH (Federal Polytechnical Institute/"Eidgenossisch Technische Hochschule") in 1950. The Z4 was used in the Institute of Applied Mathematics at ETH until 1955.  Zuse later founded the Zuse KG company to construct and market his computer designs.


The original Z1

Reconstructed Z3

The original Z4



Virginia Tech's biography and Zuse interview Zuse's Son's Page
Digidome Zuse Biography Pioneers Biography
Behoop Bytes Zuse Page The Life and Works of Konrad Zuse