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Online Calculators for Math Help

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A Brief History of Calculators

Long before math was even formally recognized as an important part of our lives, humans have been adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. Whether our prehistoric ancestors were dividing the spoils of a hunt, or they were counting the days between full moons, numbers were calculated with tools. Even if these tools were as simple as using a stick to make marks in the dirt, humans have always used a mechanism to aid in calculating mathematical equations.

Ancient Calculators

After centuries of using readily available objects to help with calculations, humans started to develop more formal contraptions for aiding in math. One of the earliest and more popular calculators is the Abacus. Just one step above counting stones, the Abacus was made up of a series of strings with a set amount of beads on each string. By arranging the beads in a certain order, it was much easier to perform mathematical computations on large numbers. The Abacus was one of the first world-wide adopted calculators used in human history.

Mechanical Calculators

The Abacus was used for centuries without much competition. With advancements in mechanical technologies during the 16th and 17th centuries, many new calculator designs were developed and many of these calculators failed as an improvement over the long-standing and proven methods. A man by the name of Blaise Pascal is widely recognized as the creator of some of the first mechanical calculators. His inventions revolutionized mathematics. Unfortunately, his adding machine that was created in 1642 was not widely available to the masses. He produced only a few of his revolutionary machines, but he definitely moved calculators to the forefront of importance for new invention ideas.

The Slide Rule Sends Men to the Moon

Many iterations and advancements were made to the mechanical calculators, and as many decades passed, they became more widely available to the public. You may have caught a glimpse of some of these calculators when you visit an antique store, or watch old movies. Some of the most noticeable would be old cash registers, or the large machines used for accounting that spit out all of that paper. The next step to make calculators more user-friendly was to create a hand-held calculator that could be more portable and able to handle many calculations on-the-spot. The creation to step up to this task is the slide rule. If you ask anyone that was alive before 1980, they will most likely roll their eyes and tell you some grandiose story of how math was so much more difficult before electric handheld calculators. Slide rules were used by almost anyone doing math in classrooms, offices, and even in space. Without slide rules, many engineers would have taken so much more time, and possibly created more errors, in their mathematical calculations. This included all of the math-focused super engineers that were under pressure to advance the USA in the space race during the 50's, 60's and 70's.

The Age of Electronic Calculators and the Always Cool Watch Calculator

By the late 1970's the slide rule had mostly been replaced by the handheld electronic calculator. With the strong advancements in electronics during the 60's and 70's, we could now do more advanced math with a tool that fits in your hand. During the digital age of the 1980's there was even a brief fashion fad of wearing a watch that was basically a very small calculator. What else would go with your Member's Only jacket and your DeLorean when you're taking a date to go see Karate Kid?

Calculators on the Internet

As electronic calculators continued to advance during the 1980's and 1990's, they started to become an accessory to other devices. Just like the watch, cell phones now also included calculator functions. As the internet became more important to the human race, and instant information is now a part of our lives, we have a new use for calculators. This is where the online calculators at are used.