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A history of calculator, calculator is basically a machine that is designed to perform arithmetic, exponential, logarithmic, trigonometric, and even hyperbolic functions. Or simply we can say that a calculator is typically a portable electronic device that can be used to perform calculations varying from simple arithmetic to complex mathematical operations.  You can Use For Different Problems related to Calculator.


We can evaluate the history of calculator from the ABACUS to the electronics calculator.

Around 2000 BC, one of the most primitive calculator’s hand-operated mechanical calculator named


ABACUS was discovered containing beads that were embedded with the rods.


The principle was quite simple, a frame holding a series of rods, with almost 10 sliding beads on each. As soon as all the beads had been slid across the first rod, it was time for it to move across on the next, showing the number of tens and henceforth towards the next rod, showing hundreds and so on. Each lower rod represents every larger powers-of-ten with the third representing hundreds, the next thousands and so on.

Pros and cons:

The ABACUS requires no source of power. The beads are positioned in several parallel rows and can be moved up and down to denote arithematic operations. It is said that a skilled ABACUS user can do some calculations just as fast as a person equipped with a battery powered calculator.It made addition and subtraction faster and less error-prone and may have led to the term ‘beads counters’ for accountants. The Abacus was the first purpose-built device for counting yet discovered with the exception of the counting board.


It is believed that the Abacus was introduced to the Chinese by Roman merchants in around 190 AD.

Example of a Chinese Abacus. Source:  Pixabay

The Abacus would remain as the de facto counting device for over four and half millennia. It is still the counting device of choice throughout many parts of Asia. That was, at last in Europe, until 1617.


A brief history of calculator 1617 a Scottish Mathematician, John Napier, described the workings of a device that would come to be known as Napier’s Bones. They enabled a user to break down multiplication into much simple addition operations or division to simple subtractions. On the surface, slide rules look like pretty complex devices but that betrays the pure utility of them.


The slide rule was an advancement to the abacus as it consisted of a sliding stick that could perform rapid multiplications by using logarithmic scales. The bones were very thin with each bean inscribed with multiplication tables .users could make quick calculations by adjusting each row vertical alignment in order to read of the multiplication total in the horizontal. They were primarily developed as a calculation method to find the product and quotient of numbers. After only a matter of few hours of practice, anybody could quickly make complex multiplication and division calculation. They are, in effect, a sliding stick that makes use of logarithmic scales to quickly solve multiplication and division problems.

Pros and cons:

The beauty of them was their simplicity. As impressive as this simple invention as it was not technically speaking a calculator as the user still needed to make mental calculations in order to use them. They would undergo a series of advancements that would enable them to be used to perform advanced trigonometry, logarithms, exponentials, and square roots. However, often, these were not the most portable devices when compared to the slide rules of the time that could easily fit into a breast pocket or button-down shirt. Slide rules were of fundamental importance to the NASA space program with them being heavily relied upon during the Apollo program.



In 1642 one Blaise Pascal created a device that could perform arithmetic operations with just two numbers.


His machine comprised of geared wheels that could add and subtract two numbers directly and also multiply and ivied them by repetition. The inspiration of pascal’s history of calculator arithmetic machine or Pascaline was his frustration with the laborious nature of the arithmetical calculation. The key part of his machine was its carry mechanism that adds 1 to 9 on one dial. When the dial is turned to reach zero, the next dial is able to carry one so on and so forth. His innovations made each digit fully independent of the state of the others which enable multiple carries to rapidly cascade from one digit to another regardless of the machine’s capacity.

Pros and cons:

Today nine examples of his original machines exist with most displayed around museums in around Europe.All other mechanical calculators following the Pascaline were either directly inspired by it or shared the same influences that Pascal used for his device.

Arithmometer :

In 1820, Thomas de Colmar built his famous Arithmometer.

This incorporated Leibniz’s wheels (step drum), or his own re-invention of it, and would go on to become the first mechanical calculator strong and reliable enough to be used day to day in places like offices. It would become an instant commercial success and was manufactured between 1851 and 1915. It was also copied and built by many other companies around Europe.


The history of calculator was capable of adding and subtracting two numbers directly and could perform long multiplication and division by using a moveable accumulator. The arithmetic would mark a watershed in calculator history forcing in its own way. The beginning of the end for the large-scale reliance on human calculators. In addition to that, it would also effectively launch the machinal calculator industry around the world. Some were still built and use as late as the 1970s.


Mechanical calculator innovation moved across the Atlantic to the USA after the success of the arthrometer with the development of the various hand-cranked adding machines.

For Instance:

These included the highly successful Grant Mechanical calculating machines built-in 1877 in the famous P100 Burroughs adding machine devised by William Seward Burroughs in 1886.


A little later in 1887, Dorr. E Felt got a US patent for his comptometer. This machine took calculators into the push age and would inspire many imitations of it throughout the next century.


The inclusion of push-buttons would eventually improve the efficiency of calculators for arithmetic problems. This is due to the push button presses that can add values to the accumulator as soon as they are depressed. This means numbers can be entered simultaneously which can make devices like the one as a comptometer faster to use than the electronic calculators that require numbers to be entered individually in serial.


Curta Calculator:

In 1940’s Mechanical calculators became portable. The Curta calculator was compact and it could rather clumsily fit into a pocket. Perhaps it was the very first last and only mechanical handheld pocket and calculator ever developed.


It worked by accumulating values on cogs which are then themselves added or complemented by a stepped drum mechanism. The entire mechanism fits snugly inside a small cylinder and was to all intent and purposed and a very pretty piece of kit. It was capable of all arithmetic operations. It could perform under the grasp of your palm.

Pros and cons:

The Curta would enjoy commercial, phenomenal success as being the de fact portable calculator for many decades. Herztark’s intricate design for the Curta was used all the way to the 1960s in rally cars and cockpits where quick calculations had to be made on time.

  • The arrival of the electronic calculator:

The story of the electronic calculator has its roots in the late 1930s. As the world geared up for large-scale warfare artillery, warship gun batteries, bombsights and other weapons required the mean of calculating trigonometry quickly and reliably.


Most sophisticated systems came into creation later in the war with the need to break enemy codes. This untimely led to the development of the famous colossus ‘computer’ that was dedicated to performing XOR BOOLEAN ALGORITHMS rather than the calculation per site.

At the end of the war, the first general calculating computer, the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and computer) which was completed in 1946. This was designed as a COMPLETELY digital artillery firing table calculator which could ultimately solve a number of problems and generate the best possible solutions.

  • 1000 times faster than any existing electromechanical computer of the time
  • It could as many as a ten-digit decimal number in its memory.
  • It was however enormous weighing an incredible 27 tones and required a lot
  • Of space.
  • But progress in all electronic calculator calculators hit a massive and peak point as they were limited edition by the size of the vacuum tubes. Thereby they would need to be miniature.



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