The Wegematic 1000 Computing Center, 1959–1964

Trans-local cooperation
  • Jaakko Suominen
  • Petri Paju
  • Aimo Törn
Part of the IFIP International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 174)


The paper concerns the Alwac and Wegematic computer usage in the Nordic countries focussing on the Southern Finnish town of Turku. This topic has received little academic attention and frequently forgotten. In the paper, we examine the actions that the two universities and involved companies in the Turku region took after they had accepted the donation of a Wegematic 1000 computer. We argue that the Turku Computing Centre, created in 1960, firstly made an effort to combine scientific and educational aspects and commercial service in its activity and, secondly, participated in and benefited from establishing Nordic co-operation among the users of Wegematic computers. Therefore, we conclude that this Wegematic story is important for understanding the early phases of computerisation in Finland, at least outside the capital region of the country. We suggest the same could be true in Sweden and Norway. Further, we suggest that other Wegematic stories might be worth studying to improve our understanding of the Nordic trans-local interaction in early computing. Finally, we suggest applying a comparative method for these future studies.

Key words

Nordic cooperation regional developments computing centres Wegematic 1000 


  1. Aaltonen, Aarre: “Nokian elektroniikkateollisuuden synty: nuorten kokeilijoiden ja keksijöiden pajasta huipputeollisuudeksi. [The Birth of Electronics Industry of Nokia, in Finnish]”, in Martti Tienari, ed., Tietotekniikan alkuvuodet Suomessa, [The First Years of Information Technology in Finland, in Finnish.] Helsinki 1993, 108–126.Google Scholar
  2. Bohman, Ragnar & Dahlberg, Ingrid: Dansen bring guldkalven[Dancing around the golden calf, in Swedish], Askild&Kärnekull. 1975.Google Scholar
  3. Brosveet, Jarle: “IBM Salesman Meets Norwegian Tax Collector: Computer Entrepreneurs in the Making.” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 21 (1999): 2, 5–13).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Datahistorien ved Universitet I Oslo. Fra begynnelsen til ut I syttiårene. Temanummer Fra Usit, juni 1996.Google Scholar
  5. De Geer, Hans: På väg till datasamhället. Datatekniken i politiken 1946–1963. [On the way to information society. Information Technology in Politics 1946–1963, in Swedish]. Stockholm 1992.Google Scholar
  6. Heide, Lars: Hulkort og EDB i Danmark 1911–1970, [Punched card machines and electronic data processing in Denmark 1911–1970, in Danish]. Århus 1996.Google Scholar
  7. Helsingin yliopiston laskentakeskuksen ja fysiikan laskentatoimiston toimintakertomus vuodelta 1980. [Annual report of the Computer Centre in University of Helsinki 1980, in Finnish.]Google Scholar
  8. Häggman, Kai: Suurten muutosten Suomessa. Kansaneläkelaitos 1937–1997. [Finland in Great Changes, Social Insurance Institution 1937–1997, in Finnish.] Helsinki 1997.Google Scholar
  9. Klüver, Per V.: From Research Institute to Computer Company: Regnecentralen 1946–1964. IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Vol. 21, No. 2, 1999.Google Scholar
  10. Laurikainen, Kalervo: Fyysikon tie. [A Path of a Physician, in Finnish] Helsinki, Hyvinkää 1982.Google Scholar
  11. Lindqvist, Svante: “Forskningens fasader: Wenner-Gren Center som symbol för svensk vetenskap [Facade of the reseach: Wenner-Gren Center as a symbol for Swedish science, in Swedish],” Lychnos 1997.Google Scholar
  12. Paju, Petri: Ensimmäinen suomalainen tietokone ESKO ja 1950-luvun suunnitelma kansallisesta laskentakeskuksesta, [The First Finnish Computer ESKO and a 1950”s Plan of a National Computing Center, in Finnish]. Licensiate Thesis, Cultural History. University of Turku, Finland 2002.Google Scholar
  13. Peleikis, Anja: “The Emergence of a Translocal Community. The Case of a South Lebanese Village and its Migrant Connections to Ivory Coast.” Cahiers d’etudes la Méditerranée orientale et le monde turco-iranien. No 30, juin-décembre 2000. [].Google Scholar
  14. Sormunen, Tapio: Keskinäinen Vakuutusyhtiö Sampo osana Suomen vahinkovakuutustoimintaa 1909–1970, [Insurance Company Sampo as a Part of Indemnity Insurance in Finland 1909–1970, in Finnish]. Licensiate Thesis, Finnish History. University of Turku, Finland 1983.Google Scholar
  15. Suominen, Jaakko — Paju, Petri — Torn, Aimo: “Varsinaissuomalainen linja Suomen tietoteknistymisen alkuvaiheissa. Turun laskukeskus ja Wegematic 1000 tietojenkäsittelykone [Early Computerization in Finland, 1959—1964. A Study of the Beginnings of Computer Center in Turku and Wegematic 1000 Electronic Data Processing Machine, in Finnish]”. Tekniikan Waiheita 18 (2000): 3, 24–46. [Webified version:]Google Scholar
  16. Suominen, Jaakko: Sähköaivo sinuiksi, tietokone tutuksi. Tietotekniikan kulttuurihistoriaa [Getting Familiar with the Electronic Brain, Getting to Know the Computer, in Finnish]. Publications of the Research Center for Contemporary Culture, No. 67. Jyväskylä 2000.Google Scholar
  17. Suominen, Jaakko: “Koneen kokemus. Tietoteknistyvä kulttuuri modernisoituvassa Suomessa 1920-luvulta 1970-luvulle.” [Experiences with machines. Computerised culture in the process of Finnish modernisation from the 1920s to the 1970s, in Finnish], Tampere 2003.Google Scholar
  18. Tienari, Martti (edit.): Tietotekniikan alkuvuodet Suomessa. [The First Years of Information Technology in Finland, in Finnish.] Helsinki 1993.Google Scholar
  19. Törn, Aimo: Early History of Computing in Turku, 1959–1964. Rapporter från datacentralen vid Åbo Akademi. 1.12.2000.Google Scholar
  20. Vehviläinen, Marja: “Gender and Computing in Retrospect: The Case of Finland.” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, Vol, 21, No. 2, 1999, 44–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Wenner-Gren, Axel L.: Vetoomus jokaiseen. [Appeal for Everyone, in Finnish] Suom. Väinö J. Vatanen. Helsinki 1937.Google Scholar
  22. Wennerholm, Staffan: “Vetenskapen (och publiken) i framtidens samhälle. Om en forskningspolitikens konferens i Wenner-Gren Center 1963 [Science (and the public) in future society. On a conference of research policy in the Wenner-Gren Center 1963, in Swedish],” Lychnos 2002, 196–223.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaakko Suominen
    • 1
  • Petri Paju
    • 2
  • Aimo Törn
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Digital Culture, School of Cultural Production and Landscape StudiesUniversity of TurkuPoriFinland
  2. 2.Department of Cultural HistoryUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  3. 3.Department of Computer ScienceÅbo AkademiAboFinland

Personalised recommendations