THE EVOLUTION OF CALCULATORS
Whenever you need to calculate a huge sum, you immediately look around for a calculator. All mobile phones and computer devices have a built-in calculator these days. In schools and colleges, calculators are allowed beyond a certain grade so that complex mathematic problems can be solved easily.
No doubt we’re all grateful for this little device that has made our lives so much easier. But not many are aware of the history of its evolution. Let us learn more about how the current form of calculator came into being.
The first form of a calculator was the abacus. It was a simple device with wires and beads which was used to perform simple arithmetic functions like addition and subtraction. Various versions of the abacus were developed later on.
Then came the Pascal calculator. It was a mechanical calculator that could perform additional functions like multiplication and division (by repeatedly adding or subtracting numbers). But even that was far from the elaborately functioning device that is in use today.
The first electronic calculator was introduced to the world by Texas Instruments in the mid-20th century. The device was further revolutionized when the scientific calculator was invented by Hewlett Packard in 1972. There have been modifications in recent years but it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the world started using scientific calculators about half a century ago.
It is interesting to know that something that we can’t imagine our routine life without was invented not so long ago. Today we are so dependent on calculators that it would be hard to become efficient in mathematics without the help of a small device. Whenever it was, this generation can only be thankful for the invention.