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The Development of Calculators

by Oliver
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Pascal’s Pascaline adding and subtracting machine was the first calculator. Therefore these devices have been around for over four centuries. These Calculators Made Divisible, multiplication, addition, and subtraction easier. The issue is, after 400 years of technical advancements, what will calculators look like?

A Pascaline adding and subtracting machine he built in 1642 is widely regarded as the earliest calculator. This makes calculators about 400 years old. The fact that numerical computation has evolved so little since Pascal’s calculator is an intriguing relationship. Nowadays, calculators allow for faster and more varied analyses, which has changed the game.

The 1800s saw the beginning of the heyday of calculators. The people who worked on the first calculators confronted similar technological and mechanical hurdles. As a result of these constraints, early calculators typically malfunctioned, if they worked at all. In contrast, accurate mechanical calculators were finally attainable in the 1800s because of advances in technology and mechanical ability. This category included:

Colmar invented the Arithmometer in 1820, which employed a step drum approach to perform arithmetic operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Odhner, the inventor of the pinwheel or variable cog calculator, created the first iteration of his device, the Original Odhner, in 1875.

First designed by Felt in 1885, the Comptometer was the first calculator to use mechanical buttons for data entering and calculation.

The 1900s saw the continuation of the calculator’s golden era, during which the devices took their now-familiar form.

Hopkins created the Standard calculator in 1901, which included two rows of five buttons for entering the numbers 0 through 9.

Sundstrand, a Swedish immigrant to the United States, is credited with developing the modern 10-key keyboard in widespread use today.

In 1914, companies started getting their hands on the first commercial calculators, and the trend of using them quickly spread.

Since mechanical calculators required the entry of numbers in a particular order to do the necessary mathematical computation, their heyday lasted until the 1960s. Most of them even had the mechanical handle you pulled at various points in the calculation process to get to the desired output.

Once transistors and other technology components could be produced tiny enough to fit in portable calculator devices, the world shifted dramatically in the 1960s. Early examples of electronic calculators included:

In 1961, 170 vacuum tubes were linked to a decade counter to create the Anita MK8, a desktop calculator used for simple arithmetic and numerical display.

The first commercially available calculator to use a transistor was the Sharp Compet CS 10A, released in 1964.

First introduced in 1968, the Sharp Compet 22 was the world’s first commercial electronic desktop calculator.

In 1969, Sharp released the QT8-D, the world’s first portable calculator powered by a replaceable battery. As for dimensions, it was just 5.25 inches across, 9.6 inches high, and 2.75 inches thick. In the ’60s, this was an enormous accomplishment.

When Texas Instruments released its first calculator, the Pocketronic, in 1970, it was even more compact than the Sharp QT8-D.

In subsequent years, calculators shrank in size and gained the capacity to do more complicated calculations.

Hewlett-Packard released the HP-55 in 1975 at $385.00.

Many businesses fought to get into the portable calculator industry from the 1970s through the 1990s. In 1990, just four of the world’s largest corporations remained:

  • Casio
  • Instruments from Texas
  • Computer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard
  • Sharp

The introduction of portable calculators to the market began in the 1990s and continues now. Graphing calculators and other specialized scientific calculators fall within this category. Technological progress has resulted in a steep drop in the cost of calculators. The first calculators were developed in the 1600s, 1700s, and 1800s, and they could only do the four most fundamental arithmetic operations. A calculator capable of doing these elementary tasks now costs less than a dollar

The issue is, after 400 years of technical advancements, what will calculators look like?

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