Herzstark, an Austrian inventor and manufacturer of calculators, describes the development of the Austrian Calculating Machine Manufacturing Company (Rechenmaschinefabrik der Austria Erstanden Compagnie) and his subsequent work in the industry. The company, founded in Vienna by his father, Samuel Herzstark, in 1905, introduced the first electrically-driven calculator based on improved designs of the Thomas Arithmometer. Herzstark describes the disruption of the industry during World War I, his involvement with the company after the war, competition with American companies, and his first invention, a mechanical memory for holding subtotals, which appeared in 1928. Herzstark managed the company in 1930 and began work on his own design for a hand-held calculator. With the Anschluss of 1938, the company was again converted to war production, and produced custom gauges for German tanks. Herzstark, a Jew, was able to avoid arrest until 1943, when he was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp and worked as a technician. He recounts his arrest and internment, and how he completed the design of the CURTA hand-held calculator, a prototype of which was produced in Weimar, Germany, by Rheinmetallwerke at the end of the war. The Prince of Liechtenstein bought the design and the calculator was initially manufactured by the CURTA division of Contina AG of Liechtenstein. It was produced until 1972, when the electronic calculator forced it from the market.
Curt Herzstark, OH 140. Oral history interview by Erwin Tomash, 10 September 1987, Nendeln, Liechtenstein. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. http://purl.umn.edu/107359
Transcript, 95 pp. Audio file available at http://purl.umn.edu/95554
Oral history interview with Curt Herzstark [German].
Charles Babbage Institute.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
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