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Blaise Pascal invented the mechanical calculator in 1642.[1][2] He conceived the idea while trying to help his father who had been assigned the task of reorganizing the tax revenues of the French province of Haute-Normandie; first called Arithmetic Machine, Pascal's Calculator and laterPascaline, it could add and subtract two numbers directly and multiply and divide by repetition.

Pascal went through 50 prototypes before presenting his first machine to the public in 1645. He dedicated it to Pierre Séguier, the chancellor of France at the time.[3] He built around twenty more machines during the next decade, often improving on his original design. Nine machines have survived the ...view middle of the document...

Blaise Pascal invented the mechanical calculator in 1642.[1][2] He conceived the idea while trying to help his father who had been assigned the task of reorganizing the tax revenues of the French province of Haute-Normandie; first called Arithmetic Machine, Pascal's Calculator and laterPascaline, it could add and subtract two numbers directly and multiply and divide by repetition.

Pascal went through 50 prototypes before presenting his first machine to the public in 1645. He dedicated it to Pierre Séguier, the chancellor of France at the time.[3] He built around twenty more machines during the next decade, often improving on his original design. Nine machines have survived the centuries,[4] most of them being on display in European museums. In 1649 a royal privilege, signed by Louis XIV of France,[5] gave him the exclusivity of the design and manufacturing of calculating machines in France.

Its introduction launched the development of mechanical calculators in Europe first and then all over the world, development which culminated, three centuries later, in the invention of the microprocessor developed for a Busicom calculator in 1971 ; the microprocessor is now at the heart of all computers and embedded systems.[6]

The mechanical calculator industry owes a lot of its key machines and inventions to the pascaline. First Gottfried Leibniz invented his Leibniz wheels after 1671 while trying to add an automatic multiplication and division feature to the pascaline,[7] then Thomas de Colmar drew his inspiration from Pascal and Leibniz when he designed his arithmometer in 1820, and finally Dorr E. Felt substituted the input wheels of the pascaline by columns of keys to invent his comptometer around 1887. The pascaline was also constantly improved upon, especially with the machines of David Roth around 1840, and then with some portable machines until the creation of the first electronic calculators.

Blaise Pascal invented the mechanical calculator in 1642.[1][2] He conceived the idea while trying to help his father who had been assigned the task of reorganizing the tax revenues of the French province of Haute-Normandie; first called Arithmetic Machine, Pascal's...

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