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Adding machine.

In 1642 the French mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) invented a calculating machine that could add and subtract. It had wheels that each had 1 to 10 marked off along its circumference. When the wheel at the right, repreresenting units, made one complete circle, it engaged the wheel to its left, representing tens, and moved it forward one notch.

With such a machine, as long as the correct numbers were entered into the device, there was no possibility of a mistake.

He patented the final version in 1649, but it was a commercial failure. It was too expensive, and most people continued to add and subtract on their fingers, on an abacus, or on a sheet of paper.

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Author:Asimov, Isaac
Publication:Asimov's Chronology of Science & Discovery, Updated ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1994
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