When was an abacus invented?



Technical aids were already used in arithmetic in ancient times. The world's first adding machine, the Chinese abacus, suan-pan, was made in 1100 BC. invented. The basic arithmetic arithmetic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division can be carried out using the abacus. The arithmetic principle of Suan-Pan was not a decimal, nor a dual one, but a so-called "bi-quintales", which was based on the two five fingers of the human hands. Calculating with the abacus was therefore not easy for inexperienced people.
An abacus consists of a frame with pearls on parallel bars. Each bar represents one digit in the system of ten. Another pearl above represents 5 units each. The pearls are pushed towards the number according to the number. (See video) The abacus was used by numerous early cultures to perform basic arithmetic. The abacus was also used in other cultures, e.g. in ancient Rome, England and Russia.

The hand abacus

The hand abacus made of bronze is a "further development" of the Suan-pan. The structure is similar to that of its predecessor, except that it can also be used to calculate weight units. With a small number of balls up to almost 10,000,000 could be expected. This hand-held tobacco turned out to be extremely useful for everyday use; a pocket calculator that was easy to carry with you and easy to use.

Japanese Soroban (Today's Abacus)

The Soroban is descended from the Suan-pan. In the middle of the 19th century, one of the two upper balls and a century later the fifth lower ball were removed because they were not needed for arithmetic. The abacus is still used today by around half of humanity, especially in Asia and Africa. A skilled user can calculate faster with it than with a pocket calculator.

Video about the abacus

Explanation of the abacus in a video.