Calculators are an essential part of everyday life. They used in a variety of different situations from the school room to the Wall Street stock market. Calculators can perform complex equations much more quickly and easily than most people and save us an extraordinary amount of time. They come in a variety of sizes and are part of the programming in most electronic devices such as cell phones and computers. So, who invented the calculator? Read on to find out.
The Invention of the Calculator
Before calculators, as we know them, existed there were a variety of devices used to help with arithmetic. The first known device was the abacus that was used by the ancient Egyptians in 2000BC. The first mechanical calculating device was invented by Blaise Pascal in 1642. He invented this device, which could add and subtract two numbers and complete simple multiplication and division, to help his father reorganize the tax system in the part of France in which they lived. This device used a series of rotating pinwheels, handles and knobs and was as large as a desktop computer. The first commercially successful adding machine was developed in 1886 by William Seward Burroughs. In 1902 a mechanical calculator with push buttons was invented by James L. Dalton in the United States. In 1948 a portable version of the mechanical calculator was developed by Curt Herzstark and, although expensive, it was very popular.
Between the 1950’s and the 1970’s a lot of work was put into developing electronic calculators. Many versions were made, but were large, expensive and inaccessible to the general public. The first pocket-sized electronic calculators appeared on the Japanese market in 1970. However, in 1971 Texas Industries brought out the first “calculator on a chip.” The Busicom LE-120A “HANDY” was the first electronic calculator that fully resembles what we know as a calculator, with an LED display, a single integrated circuit and replaceable batteries.