History of the Abacus


By: Jason Baker

The word abacus comes from the Greek word "ABAX" meaning a calculating board or calculating table. It was invented by the Chinese, the first known record of the abacus was from an ancient sketch in a book from the Yuan Dynasty which was in the fourteenth century. It has a Mandarin name which is"Suan Pan" which means calculating plate. It's inventor is unknown. The Abacus is mostly referred to as the first computer.

An Abacus was made of a rectangular wood frame and had a piece of wood running through the middle. On the top layer there is two rounded beads and on the bottom there is five beads. There were eleven wooden poles which were very small and held the beads in place. On the abacus you could add, subtract, multiply, and divide.

In Asian countries it is not unusual to see shopkeepers adding up prices for sales.




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