Z3 Computer (1938-1941)

Konrad Zuse, a brilliant engineer and computer pioneer, was born in Berlin, Germany in 1910. He received his construction engineering degree from the Technische Hochschule Berlin-Charlottenburg in 1935.

Dr. Zuse's Z3 COMPUTER, designed and built from 1938 to 1941, was the first automatic, program-controlled, fully functional, general purpose digital computer.

(The original Z3 was destroyed during the war. The photo is of a reconstruction of the machine in the 1960's.)

The Z3 used binary numbers and floating point arithmetic. The Z3 also utilized a punched film for program input. The Z3 computer used 2,600 telephone relays. The Z3 could convert decimal to binary and back again.

Dr. Konrad Zuse's pioneering work in the development of the computer was not widely known until 1965 when descriptions of his work were translated into English. His first computers pre-dated those built by Howard Aiken, John V. Atanasoff, as well as the ENIAC, built by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly. Zuse was unable to obtain government funding for his computer research, however, and the war effectively blocked communications between his work and that being done in other parts of the world.

His first computers were originally called V1, V2, and V3 ("V" for "Versuchsmodell" German for experimental model). Later he changed the "V" to a "Z" so as not to be confused with Germany's V rockets.


History of Computing

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