As we live out our lives in these modern times we have access to an unprecedented wealth of technology. Things like robot vacuum cleaners, video phones and 3D printers that were considered science fiction just 20 years ago are now commonplace in many developed countries.
But even though today’s technology didn’t exist in its precise form decades, centuries, or even millennia ago, a lot of our new favorite tools and devices have actually been around for much longer than you might think. And while we might take much of it for granted, if you examine history closely, you’ll see that a lot of the current technology that we consider to be ultra modern, was actually first conceived long ago.
Granted, most people are aware that calculators have been around for quite a while, but they probably have no idea just how old they are. Back in the mid-17th century, before we even had pocket watches or new what bacteria were, Blaise Pascal was devising an ingenious new method to make math his b–tch. He had already contributed to a formative treatise on projective geometry before the age of 16, and so one day, as he was watching his tax accountant father struggle to reconcile a bunch of scores of figures, Pascal had the notion of building a machine that could perform mathematical functions automatically.
After a little trial and error, Pascal managed to indeed build the world’s first mechanical calculator, which later became known as the Pascaline. The Pascaline looked like a jewelry box with a series of dials on the lid. By turning the dials to input the required figures, the machinery inside the box would twist and turn in just the right way so that the correct answer would be displayed in the lids little answer window.
Although technically the machine was only structured to do addition, it was possible for it to subtract by doing the process in reverse, multiply by using repeated addition, and divide by using repeated subtraction.