The Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing
An annotated and illustrated catalog of books and manuscripts related to the history of computing put together by Erwin Tomash.

About the Erwin Tomash Library

This catalog documents the collection (perhaps the best ever assembled) of books and manuscripts related to the history of computing. It was put together, over many years, by Erwin Tomash — himself a pioneer in the development of computers.

The collection consists of well over five thousand items from twelfth century manuscripts to modern publications. This catalog documents the rarest items (about 3,000, usually pre-1955) together with a series of essays that explain the uses of little known instruments and techniques that are discussed in the entries. Each entry consists of the usual bibliographic details, some biographical information on the author, a description of the contents, and illustrations of interesting pages and diagrams. Further information about the collection can be had by reading the Preface and the Author’s Note in the Appendix.

How to Use This Catalog

This catalog is almost 1600 pages long, consequently it can be difficult to navigate.

On the right you will see a list that will take you to individual sections (Adobe pdf documents) which will open in a new window. The latest version of the Adobe Reader software is available free.

On the left hand side of the Adobe reader, you will see some tabs (on older readers) or icons (on newer versions). If you see a tab labeled “Bookmarks,” click on it, otherwise click on the icon that looks like an open book with a bookmark ribbon hanging from the top. The bookmarks (authors contained in that section) will open. Clicking on a bookmark will take you to the first entry for that author. Further entries for that author can be found by scrolling down the subsequent pages.

Secondary authors are more difficult to find. There are several indexes at the end of the work – a subject index, and author index, and a listing of items by date of publication.  The Adobe pdf files are searchable — use “search” rather than the “find” facility.

Examining All the Illustrations

Each item in the catalog ends with a section of “Illustrations available.” During the creation of this Catalog, we scanned almost 16,000 illustrations. Many of these will already be used in this catalog, but often there are interesting items that we could not include.

All of the illustrations may be accessed here.

Examples of illustrations found inside the catalog: