Over the years rumors were heard that Mr. Herzstark secretly developed the Curta while imprisoned in a German concentration camp. Apparently this is almost true. Herzstark was a prisoner at Buchenwald but the camp leaders were aware of his work and encouraged it. They apparently wanted to give the invention to the Fuehrer as a victory gift at the end of the war! Herzstark was given a drawing board and worked on the design day and night. The camp was liberated in April, 1945 by the Americans. Herzstark survived as did his revolutionary concept for a miniature calculator.
The Curta looks like a small metal pepper-mill or coffee grinder. It is, in fact, a precision instrument which performs calculations mechanically using no electric or electronic parts. I can best describe the sensation of turning the crank on a Curta as being similar to winding a fine 35mm camera. To the best of my knowledge it is the smallest mechanical calculating machine ever built.
|Last Updated on 21 October, 2002||For suggestions please mail the editors|
Footnotes & References
|1||page based on article from Bruce Flamm; 1996 IACC Spring 1996 issue #12; Special thanks to member Bob Otnes in Palo Alto, CA and Peter Kradolfer in Germany for providing information used in this article.|
|2||picture: History of computing CD -Digidome|