Scope and Content Note
The collection consists of published articles on the CURTA, as well as its inventor, Curt Herzstark. Other materials include advertisements, brochures and manuals for the CURTA, and copied photographs of the “Lilliput,” the precursor to the CURTA. The bulk of the materials in the collection are in German, with a few in French and English.
- 1928, 1944-1954, 1986-1989.
- Herzstark, Curt, 1902-1988 (Person)
Language of Materials
German, English, French
Access to materials:
Access to the collection is unrestricted.
All material in the collection is covered by a prior copyright. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provisions of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).
Curt Herzstark was born in Vienna, Austria on January 26, 1902. His father, Samuel Jakob Herzstark established, along with a partner, the first calculating machine factory in Vienna, Austria, the Austrian Calculating Machines Manufacturing Company, in 1905-1906. After finishing school, Herzstark began working at his father’s company and then went to work AstraWerke in Germany to gain experience in production of adding machines. After about a year in Germany, Herzstark returned to the family factory in Vienna. He began to manage the factory beginning in 1930.
By 1937, based on requests from factory customers, Herzstark had preliminary plans for a hand held mechanical calculating machine. From 1938-1943, the family factory was contracted to make precision gauges for the German military and were banned from continuing their construction and distribution of calculating machines.
In 1943, Herzstark was arrested and sent to Buchenwald concentration camp, where he worked in the mechanics factory as a technician. While in prison, Herzstark was allowed to begin to design his hand held calculating machine, the CURTA.
After the war, Herzstark began construction on prototypes of the CURTA. He was appointed as technical director of the Contina AG factory in Liechtenstein and worked to produce the CURTA, which was first introduced at a trade fair in 1949. Herzstark left Contina AG in 1952, but the company still produced the CURTA until 1972, when the electronic calculator replaced mechanical calculators. Curt Herzstark died on October 27, 1988.
For a more complete biographical sketch of Curt Herzstark, please refer to the oral history history interview conducted in 1987. The audio file can be found here: http://purl.umn.edu/95554, and the related transcripts of that interview are available at http://purl.umn.edu/107358 [English] or http://purl.umn.edu/107359 [German].
1 box (0.17 cubic feet)
The collection consists of published articles on the CURTA, as well as its inventor, Curt Herzstark. Other materials include advertisements, brochures and manuals for the CURTA, and copied photographs of the “Lilliput,” the precursor to the CURTA.
Materials acquired in conjunction with oral history interview of Curt Herzstark, conducted in 1987.
- CURTA Literature, 1928, 1944-1954, 1986-1989. Finding Aid.
- Prepared by Aaron Shapiro and Carrie Seib, 2005.
- February 2006
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note