Konrad Zuse, Lorenz Hanewinkel

Zuse Z22


Werk - Zuse Z22
Artist / Artist group
Konrad Zuse, Lorenz Hanewinkel
Zuse Z22
technical object
Material / Technique
vacuum-tube computer (415 vacuum tubes, 2400 diodes, two magnetic drum memory devices, one ferrite core memory), external cooling system, control panel with key panel, oscilloscope, teleprinter, paper tape puncher/reader, desk chair, equipment trolley with teleprinter
Dimensions / Duration
Installation: ca. 380 x 650 x 420 cm, installation dimensions variable
Permanent loan from the State of Baden-Württemberg

The computer Zuse Z22 with the serial number 13 is the oldest still fully functional and authentically preserved vacuum tube computer worldwide. In the winter semester 1961/1962 the computer was installed at the Fachhochschule Karlsruhe, where it was in operation until 1971. In 2004, the ZKM took over the Zuse Z22 on permanent loan.

The Zuse Z22 was developed within two years – from 1955 to 1957 – by the Konrad Zuse AG. The leading designer was the physicist Lorenz Hanewinkel. The model, equipped with 415 electron tubes, was the first serially delivered vacuum tube computer in Germany. The Z22 was used in particular in business administration, civil engineering, electrical engineering, ballistics, aerodynamics, optics, surveying, mechanical engineering, nuclear reactor construction and mining. The model was sold a total of 55 times: 50 times in Germany and 5 times abroad. The price for one unit amounted to about 250,000 DM.

The Zuse Z22 was not the first computer Konrad Zuse built. Zuse had previously developed six other models: the Z1, Z2, Z3, Z4, Z5 and the Z11. The Z3 was the first functional program-controlled and freely programmable computer in binary floating-point calculation. Zuse completed the computer in 1941 in his small workshop in Berlin-Kreuzberg. As early as 1943, he formulated his first thoughts on the construction of new types of computer systems, which we now call computers.

Zuse also created the world's first higher programming language, Plankalkül (1941–1945). In 1949, he founded Zuse KG, the world's first computer company, together with Harry Stucken and Frank Eckhard in Neukirchen in the Hessian district of Hünfeld.