Our hands were the original tools used for counting. Since hands have their limitations, items like pebbles, seashells and sticks were gradually used for counting. Can you imagine how much time and space counting with rocks would take?
The evolution of counting tools has always been about speed, accuracy and portability.
The Abacus was invented based on the Salamis tablet. Compared to the Salamis Tablet, the Abacus was more portable. It was used in the ancient Near East, Europe, China, and Russia, centuries before the adoption of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system.
The Pascaline of Blaise Pascal 1652. Until the 20th century, most counting machines that were invented were large and heavy. They were not easy to use and required training to use them. These machines were used mainly by scientists.
Calculators were invented in the 1940’s-1960’s. During this period, they were mainly complicated motor-assisted mechanical adding machines. They appear to be inspired by the typewriter’s design.
Salamis Tablet was invented (around 300 B.C.). It brought structure, saved time and space. It is a counting board with a grouping that used one pebble which could represent 5, 10, 20, etc. It used pebbles to count and made counting more efficient.
Around the 12th-century, numerical systems started to gain popularity. This influenced future inventions of counting machines. First calculating machines by Leonardo da Vinci 1452–1519, & Wilhelm Schickard in 1623.
The original slide rule by George Fuller (1878) The original idea of the slide rule dates to 1878. Later, based on that idea, different kinds of slide rules were created which became popular in the 20th century.
In 1961, the first electronic calculator was introduced. After 9 years, it was then evolved to a portable version.