It All Adds Up: The History of the Calculator

By Karen Harris
The teacher teaches kids knowledge of abacus in Hengshui City. Source: (Xinhua/Zhu Xudong via Getty Images)

Since no one likes doing mental math, humans have devices ways of calculating numbers that require very little brain power. And it is a good thing they have! Where would we be without our handy calculators when we need to figure out how much to tip our servers, how much our overtime paycheck will be, or how much to pay the babysitter? The invention of the calculator that we all use today is the result of a long line of devices—from abacuses to slide rules—created to take the brain hurt out of math.