It was with this small mechanical calculating machine Brunsviga M that Professor Dr. Dr.h.c. Bernhard Korte began his collection back in 1960. At that time he himself used such a machine as a student of mathematics. The way it functions fascinated him and he also realized that this centuries-old technology would soon become obsolete. So he began collecting them and today his collection of historical calculating machines numbers over 10,000 pieces and is the most comprehensive worldwide.
This collection is supplemented by a collection of bibliophile historical books on arithmetic and reckoning going back to the days of Gutenberg and numbering more than 3,000 volumes. Beginning with reckoning masters such as Adam Ries who were the first to publish in German, all the way to Newton’s “Principia Mathematica” – the highlights of the history of mathematics are to be found here. This collection is one of the best worldwide.
After the collection of mechanical calculating machines had nearly reached completion, a collection of early computers and PC’s was begun. By prior arrangement one can, among other things, view a functioning Zuse Z25 machine. This collection will continue to receive special attention in the future and parts of it can already be visited at a separate viewing depot.
In the aesthetic surroundings of the Arithmeum, science and art combine in a completely natural way. The idea of presenting geometric constructivist art already arose before the opening of the museum. By now the Arithmeum houses one of the largest collections of this direction of art in German-speaking countries and regularly presents exhibitions.
Numerous design objects and chairs are supposed to enrich the viewer’s experience additionally. This led naturally to the formation of a small collection in this area as well.
Last but not least, objects involving intuitive geometric representations, as for example African art, were included in the Arithmeum Collection and now form a small collection of their own.
We plan to make all the Arithmeum collections accessible online. These will be presented on the following pages. The collection of historical calculating machines will be processed first and some of them are already available to the interested viewer. Any questions and suggestions are very welcome.