Today, throughout the world, Konrad Zuse is almost unanimously accepted as the inventor and creator of the first freely-programmable computer with a binary floating point and switching/circuit system, which really worked. This machine - called the Z3 - was completed in his small workshop in Berlin-Kreuzberg in 1941.
Konrad Zuse first started to consider the logical and technical principles of computers as far back as 1934 when he still was a student. He also created the world's first programming language (1942-1945/46), which he called the Plankalkül.
In the past, scientists and engineers had many discussions about the components of a computer and who can be accepted as the true inventor of the computer. At the International Conference on History of Computing (August 14-18, 199, there was a panel session in which scientists discussed the question: Who is the inventor of the computer? After a discussion lasting one and a half hours, the great majority denoted Konrad Zuse as the most admired computer pioneer.
This article will give an extended view on Konrad Zuse's work building computers. Although hundreds of articles were written about Konrad Zuse and his computers, the contents of these articles do not differ very much. For this reason, we will give a new insight in his computers and will show unknown facts and pictures of his computer developments and the architecture of his machines. The paper is structured as follows: In Part 1 we consider some aspects of Konrad Zuse before 1934, in Part 2 the first ideas on computing of Konrad Zuse are discussed. In Part 3 we discuss the architecture of his Z1 machine in detail, while the Z2 and Z3 computers are discussed in Part 4. In Part 5 we describe the development of the Z4 from 1942 to 1945 in Berlin and the slightly modified architecture of the Z4 for the ETH-Zürich (1950). In Part 6 Konrad Zuse's Plankalkül is described, and in Part 7 the very innovative Zuse KG is presented, which produced from 1949-1969 more than 250 computers of a value of 100 Million DM. In Part 8 we introduce Konrad Zuse's paintings and his last project, the Helix-Tower. In Part 9 we discuss other early computers in USA and UK, in Part 10 we compare the John von Neumann computer with the computers Z1-Z4 of Konrad Zuse. We close In Part 11 with some conclusions, followed by references to other literature in the Bibliography.