Blaise Pascal: arithmetic machine

Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician, physicist, mechanic, philosopher, and also a loving son. In 1642, he began working on his arithmetic machine (a prototype of a calculator) to help his father, a tax collector, do laborious calculations.

The mechanism of the arithmetic machine, later named after its inventor ‘Pascaline’, consisted of a brass box and gears with dial wheels, on which the inventor put numbers from 0 to 9. Addition was performed as follows: the numbers to be added were dialed in by turning the wheels, with each wheel moving forward one unit when the previous wheel had completed one revolution; the result was displayed in the windows at the top of the Pascaline.

Pascal presented one of his designs of the calculating machine to the Chancellor of France, and later the inventor received a royal privilege on the calculating machine: everyone except Blaise Pascal was forbidden to create calculating machines, copy the Pascaline, foreigners were forbidden to trade calculating machines in France.

Unfortunately, the invention did not make Blaise Pascal rich: just over 10 arithmetic machines were sold.