The first calculator | |

De Jonghe
Caroline |

__The first calculator__

__A primitive calendar: Stonehenge__

Archeologists believe that already in 2800 BC structures were built,
for the Druiden, that functioned as a calender. For example: The Stonehenge ( Salisburg,
England). It is still considered as a monument for the deep human desire to count and to establish the physical events around us. |

__The Chinese ballframe: The Abacus__

The Abacus,mostly known as the Chinese ballframe, was human's first try for finding a solution for an automatic counting process The Abacus was invented for the merchants who needed it to make their account in the commerce. ( China with Japan, India and Korea) The abacus is not an automatic machine, but it gives the user the possibility to remember his results of the calculation. If so, it is possible to make more complicated calculations.

A reclanical counting device consisting of a frame holding and a series of parallel rods on each of which beads are strung. Each bead represents a counting unit, and each rod a place value. One bead on a particular rod has a counting unit one, one bead on the next rod has a value of ten and on the next rod the has value hundred. Conclusion: the location fixes the value, this is something that we find later in the digital technics. It’s clear that the Abacus is precursor of the calculators and the computer.

For more than 1000 years after the Chineses invented the Abacus, there wasn’t any progress in the automatic counting and calculating. The Greeks evolved numberless formulas and theorems, but all these innovations had to be calculated by hand : one mathematician ond some others investigated the same problem, somewhere seperated in a small room. Sometimes it took days and weeks before they came to a verbally indentical solution. Everything was elaborated in schedules of logarithical and trigonometrical values. They had to wait until a machine could take over there calculation.

__The slide rule__

Slide rules exists in different shapes, types and measurements. The classic type exists af 3 rulers : the ruler at the bottom and at the ruler at the top are attached to each other, so that the middle ruler can move in between. Over the whole a cursor can slide. With two sliding rules that have identical lineair scale division we are able to add up or subtract two numbers. If the scale division is logarithical, we can divide and multiply in the same way. The slide rule is based on this principle. In 1620 Edmund Gunter performs multiplications and divisions by adding up and subtracting distances on a logarithmical scale. A few years later William Oughtred corrected this way by sliding two logaritmical scales beside each other. He made a construction of the circular ruler. Later cylindrical rules were invented. In 1850 Amedee Mannheim added the cursor. Scale divisions for calculating functions were added too.

*Slide rule*

__Calculating machines in de 17th century and after __

- W. Schickard (1592-1635) is known as the first constructor of a calculator; he has demonstrated his construction in 1623

- Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) succeeded Schickard. In 1642 Blaise Pascal designed for his father, who was a taxation official, a mechanical calculator, the Pascaline, to make calculations faster. Numbers had to be introduced by turning the metal wheels on the front side. The solution appears on the small windows at the top.
*The pascaline**Blaise Pascal*

- Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716)invented a calculator that was based on the principle of the kicked tinbox or the staffelwalsprincipe. A wheal on the right side registered a number between 0 and 9. To add up another number, you have to put the slide on that number and you turn the tinbox one time around. The number of the little cogs is the same as the chosen number. That’s why the wheel at the right side adds up exactly that number. This machine was just an invention, but it was never manufactured not sold commercially.

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*Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz *

- Charles Babbage (1812-1833) invented the ‘difference engine’, considered as the precursor of the modern calculator. It was a spectacular machine, invented in 1820, which could perform rather easily mathematical multiplications. Later Babbage got the idea to make the ‘analytical engine’, which could have been a real programmed computer if there would have been enough money to develop it. Both machines were not finished during Babbage's life, even so the state of technology was faily advanced. In 1991 a team of the Science Museum in London completed a whole functions ‘Difference Engine’ 2.

*Charles Babbage and his ‘difference engine’ *

- The frenchman Charles Xavier Thomas de Colmar, being a leader in an insurance company, designed the Arithometer in 1820. This Arithometer is a mechanical calculator. The apparatus has switches for each operation like to add up, subtract, multiply and divide. The inside of the apparatus is based on the principle of the ‘kicked tinbox’ an invention from Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz. The Arithmometer was one of the first calculators who were constructed on a commercial base in 1852.

*The Arithmometer,calculator from 1852 *

- Herman Hollerith (1860-1929) developped in 1890 the punched card system to store data. The punched card system was an important movement in the development of the computer. His idea was totally different from the principle already known by Babbage or by Colmar. He used the working method of a punch cutter on the train. His calculator was so successful that he started his own business to sell his product. Later the company was called International Business Machines (IBM). However the original cards could not be used for complicated calculations.

*Herman Hollerith *

- Konrad Zuse developed in 1941 a calculator that could solve complicated science equations. The machine Z3 was controlled by perforated strips of old films. He used the binary system instead of the the old wellknown decimal system. This invention is important for the development in the computers.
- Finally the scientists made the first commercial computer in 1951 in the USA.

__Sources__

Microsoft Encarta '99

http://www.dotpoint.com/xnumber/mechanical1.htm

http://www.cnam.fr/museum/revue/ref/r02a06a.html