Calculator - History of Calculator


Do you use a calculator when you work math problems? Do you like to push the buttons and add different numbers? Types of calculators have been around for a long time, but the earliest "calculators" were very different from the ones we use today.

The calculator evolved from the abacus, which had been the method of computing math equations since 2000 BC. The abacus was made of a set of different colored beads or balls that could slide back and forth as the person calculated a sum.

In the early 1600's, the slide rule was developed, and this replaced the abacus because it was convenient to use. A slide rule looks like a ruler, but it is marked with numbers and logarithms so that calculation can be done quickly. School-children were taught to use the slide-rule up to the mid-1980s.

The first mechanical calculator was invented by Blaize Pascal in 1642. His machine could add and subtract two numbers and also multiply and divide, but it was definitely a very simple machine. In 1840, Thomas de Colmar developed the Arithmometer, and this was popular until 1915.

In 1887 Dorr E Felt's key-driven adding machine was the first push-button calculator. The Curta calculator, developed in 1948 was one of the most compact calculators made before the advent of electronics. It could fit into a shirt pocket and it could add, subtract, multiply and divide.

Since the mid-20th century, the calculator has become smaller in size and more powerful in its functions. This happened as technology advanced. The newest calculators are built into most phones.

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