Who invented the computer?

If you ask someone in the United Kingdom the question “who invented the computer?”, then one of the most likely answers is “Charles Babbage”.

But, as I was reminded last week during the opening speech of a “Computer Art” exhibition, people in Germany would give a different answer.  Most of them would probably answer with “Konrad Zuse”.

So why the difference?

A mechanical calculator - ©Can Stock Photo Inc. / friendlydragonOne reason might be that each country looks to its own citizens and their inventions.  The telephone is a similar example.  Whilst people in the UK and USA will tell you that it was Alexander Graham Bell who invented the telephone, most people in Germany – especially in the Taunus region – say that it was Philipp Reis.

The truth is usually that both Babbage and Zuse had a hand in the development of the computer at some time.  Babbage devised a machine that would perform calculations (“difference engine”) and later one that could be programmed using punch cards (“analytical engine”).  His machines were mechanical, and would be operated by turning a wheel on a crank shaft.

Zuse on the other hand [Read more…]

Please click on ACCEPT to give us permission to set cookies [more information]

This website uses cookies to give you the best browsing experience possible. Cookies are small text files that are stored by the web browser on your computer. Most of the cookies that we use are so-called “Session cookies”. These are automatically deleted after your visit. The cookies do not damage your computer system or contain viruses. Please read our privacy information page for more details or to revoke permission.