Fact File: Who invented the Abacus? Invention: Abacus *** Date of Invention:
c.2700–2300 BC *** Name of Inventor: Unknown Mesopotamian Inventor *** Historical Period:
Ancient Mesopotamians *** Category: Mathematics *** Country of Origin: Sumeria,
Mesopotamia *** The Invention of the Abacus ***
Fact 1: Who invented the Abacus? The name of the inventor of the Abacus is unknown but it is believed to have been invented in
c.2700–2300 BC by the ancient Mesopotamians of Sumeria.
Fact 2: Who
invented the Abacus? Prior to the invention of the Abacus c.2700 - 2300 BC,
the Mesopotamians were credited with the development of Math
c. 3500 BC when the ancient Mesopotamians assigned symbols to groups of objects
to make the description of larger numbers easier.
Fact 3: Who
invented the Abacus? The Mesopotamian civilization had developed complex
lifestyles living in large cities with centralized economies, and needed to
was being produced and the distribution of resources.
Fact 4: Who
invented Math? As the cities and their economies grew larger it became
impossible to keep count of all the amounts of all the grain, cattle
and sheep entering or leaving the neighboring farms and the grain stores.
Fact 5: Who invented the Abacus? The Mesopotamians needed to develop a
fast counting system to keep track of numbers which led to the invention of the
device now known as the Abacus.
Fact 6: Who invented the Abacus? The word 'Abacus' derives from the
Hebrew word 'Abaq' literally meaning "dust", in reference to sand or dust strewn
on a surface for writing. The first Abacus was in the form of a drawing board
covered with sand or dust on which mathematical calculations could be easily
traced and erased.
Fact 7: Who invented the Abacus? The reason for the Semitic source of the
word was because the original home of the ancestors of the Hebrews was due north
of Mesopotamia (Genesis 11; Acts 7:2).
Fact 8: Who invented the Abacus? The 'sand table' was the predecessor of
the Abacus on which a wooden frame was covered in sand or dust was used to make
markings for calculation purposes. The Mesopotamians of Sumeria had developed
the first form of writing called "Cuneiform" c.2700 that used wedge shaped marks
to make picture symbols on clay tablets. It is therefore reasonable that they
used a form of picture symbols to make their markings on sand tables.
Fact 9: Who invented the Abacus? The 'sand table' method of counting
required the drawing of symbols and this was soon replaced by adding objects,
such as stones, for counting and then columns for a 'place-valued' form of math.
Fact 10: Who invented the Abacus? The invention of the Abacus was a
natural progression to the 'sand table'. Instead of using stones on sand the
Mesopotamians invented a portable wooden frame that was mounted with horizontal
rows of wooden rods, along which moveable small stones, pebbles or beads could
be slid for addition and subtraction purposes.
Fact 11: Who invented the Abacus? The Mesopotamians used sexagesimal
number system with sixty as its base to represent value, quantity or numbers.
Fact 12: Who invented the Abacus? The sexagesimal number system was also
used in Mesopotamia to divide time into units of 60 that is still used to the
present day for minutes and seconds.
Fact 13: Who invented the Abacus? The Mesopotamian Abacus was a useful
device for adding and subtracting but was difficult to use for more complex
Fact 12: Who invented the Abacus? Over time knowledge of the calculating
device spread to other civilizations such as the Ancient Egyptians, the
Assyrians, the Persians, the Chinese, the Romans and the Greeks. These ancient
civilizations developed the machine into a more expensive and sophisticated
device using marble frames and disks and metal counters instead of stones and
Fact 14: Who invented the Abacus? The Roman numeral system used units of
fives, tens, hundreds etc and marked lines were marked on the board, the wooden
rods were replaced by wires with moveable beads. These adaptations resulted in a
machine that was much faster to use.
Fact 15: Who invented the Abacus? The Chinese abacus, known as the 'Suan
Pan' meaning "Counting tray" was invented around 500 B.C. and was further
developed during China's Middle Ages, during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The 'Suan
Pan' abacus was developed for not only for addition and subtraction purposes but
also for multiplication and division calculations.
Fact 16: Who invented the Abacus? The invention of the ancient abacus was
gradually replaced by the manually-operated calculating device called Napier's
bones, the slide rule, the "calculating clock" and eventually the
Mechanical Calculator that was invented by Blaise
Pascal in 1642. Other forms of machines were developed over many years such as
the electric desktop calculator, the transistorised desktop calculator on to the
portable handheld devices, solar powered devices and finally the first hand held
Fact 17: Who invented the Abacus? Despite the new technology forms of the
ancient abacus counting machines are still in use today and the simple counting
board is used in some elementary schools to help teach children math.
Fact 19: Who invented the Abacus? In 1962 Tim Cranmer (1925-2001),
invented the Cranmer abacus for the use of the blind and sight impaired people.
In the Cranmer abacus a piece rubber or soft fabric is placed behind the
counting beads so that they do not move inadvertently.