Blaise Pascal


From Mathematics, 1923 by David Eugene Smith

Modern Calculating Machines.   It is evident that the idea of our modern calculating machine finds its root in the Greek abacus. When Pascal (1642), seeking to save himself unnecessary labor in assisting his father make up his accounts, invented the first modern adding machine, he simply made a set of wheels which were geared in such a way that that figure 1 would be carried when ten appeared in units' place. In other words, he invented a machine that would do automatically what had been done by hand on the Greek abacus. Leibniz (1673) added to this a further device that permitted of multiplication as well as addition, and from that time to the present adaptations of the idea of the abacus have continued and improved until we now have numerous types of instruments for all the kinds of numerical calculation ; all of these, however, go back to the abacus.

Boston, Massachusetts : Marshall Jones 1923, pp. 105-6.


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