Mail fanl

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The Mailüfterl is now in the Technisches Museum Wien .
Control panel of the mail fan
Wiring side of the calculator

The Mailüfterl was the first computer on mainland Europe to work entirely with transistors . The official name was binary decimal full transistor calculator. It was presented in May 1958. The first computers of this type worldwide were the TRADIC and the TX-0 .

The Mailüfterl was built by Heinz Zemanek from 1955 at the Vienna University of Technology . His team included Peter Lucas , Georges J. Leser, Viktor Kudielka, Kurt Walk, Ernst Rothauser , Kurt Bandat and Norbert Teufelhart.

With regard to the naming, the builder alluded to the tube computers put into operation in the USA : “Even if it cannot achieve the rapid computing speed of American models called ' whirlwind ' or 'typhoon', it will be for a Viennese 'Mailüfterl' are enough. "

The computer consists of 3,000 transistors , 5,000 diodes , 1,000 mounting plates, 100,000 soldering points, 15,000  resistors , 5,000  capacitors and 20,000 meters of jumper wire. With a weight of around 500 kilograms and a width of 4 meters, a height of 2.5 meters and a depth of 50 centimeters, the system was comparatively small compared to the contemporary tube computers. The Mailüfterl had an impressive clock frequency of 132  kHz at the time .

Zemanek later said of his project that it was a semi-illegal undertaking by a small university assistant that he carried out with a group of students without official approval and thus without financial support from the university. In 1954 he traveled to Philips in Holland to speak there about a donation in kind. The number of 1,000 transistors and their purpose were difficult to convey just seven years after the transistor was invented.

Nevertheless, Zemanek received a promise of 1,000 rather slow hearing aid transistors and finally received a total of 4,000 high-quality transistors from Philips (only four were defective, they were probably damaged during soldering).

After designing the hardware, the group devoted itself to programming from 1958 to 1961. On May 27, 1958, the Mailüfterl calculated the prime number 5,073,548,261 in 66 minutes .

The rhythm of the program could be heard on a radio. If only a continuous tone could be heard, the technicians knew that something was no longer right. This was used to determine via the telephone from home whether the device was still processing complex arithmetic work overnight.

In 1961, IBM offered the computer pioneer to set up a laboratory in Vienna, whereupon Zemanek moved the entire group to the company. IBM bought the mail fan from the state to make it available to the laboratory that Zemanek headed until 1976. IBM decommissioned the computer in 1966 and handed it over to the Technisches Museum Wien in 1973 .

On October 1, 2013, Google posted a video on a blog to honor this project.

Web links

Commons : Mailüfterl  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Obituary for Peter Lucas - Mailüfterl team . Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  2. O. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Heinz Zemanek: 60 years of lecturing at the TU Vienna . Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  3. Interview with Heinz Zemanek, Telepolis, August 8, 1999 ( online ( Memento from January 22, 2000 in the Internet Archive )).
  4. OC 71 Description of germanium transistors of the type OC 71 used .
  5. Mailüfterl: an Austrian star of European computing published on October 1, 2013
  6. Technisches Museum Wien, text on the display board of the exhibit.
  8. ^ ORF Online Vienna article about the honor of the "Mailüfterl" project by Google