Cosma / Communication / Media / Computation / Analog / Device




computing device : a machine for performing calculations automatically — The Free Dictionary


Devices have been used to aid computation for thousands of years, mostly using one-to-one correspondence with fingers. The earliest counting device was probably a form of tally stick. Later record keeping aids throughout the Fertile Crescent included calculi (clay spheres, cones, etc.) which represented counts of items, probably livestock or grains, sealed in hollow unbaked clay containers. — Wikipedia


Slide Rule and Mechanical Calculator Web Sites (The Oughtred Society)




Calculating tools (Georgi Dalakov, History of Computers and Computing)
History of Mechanical Calculators (James Redin)
Pre-History of Computing (I-Programmer)
The Alan Kaminsky Museum of Antique Computing Devices (Alan Kaminsky, Rochester Institute of Technology)
Mechanical Calculation mechanical machines (Mark Glusker)
Mechanical Computing Devices Timeline (Stephen White)

Abacus, plural abaci or abacuses, calculating device, probably of Babylonian origin, that was long important in commerce. It is the ancestor of the modern calculating machine and computer.. — Encyclopædia Britannica

The art of calculating with beads (Luis Fernandes)
The Bead Unbaffled (Totton Heffelfinger & Gary Flom, Abacus: Mystery of the Bead)
The Abacus (
The Abacus (Georgi Dalakov, History of Computers and Computing)
Abacus (The History of Computing Project)
The Abacus and the Numeral Frame (National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution)

Antikythera mechanism, ancient Greek mechanical device used to calculate and display information about astronomical phenomena. The remains of this ancient “computer,” now on display in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, were recovered in 1901 from the wreck of a trading ship that sank in the first half of the 1st century BCE near the island of Antikythera in the Mediterranean Sea. Its manufacture is currently dated to 100 BCE, give or take 30 years. — Encyclopædia Britannica

The Antikythera Mechanism at the National Archaeological Museum (Athens, Greece)
The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project
Antikythera mechanism (Wikipedia)

Napier’s bones, also called Napier’s rods, are numbered rods which can be used to perform multiplication of any number by a number 2-9. By placing “bones” corresponding to the multiplier on the left side and the bones corresponding to the digits of the multiplicand next to it to the right, and product can be read off simply by adding pairs of numbers (with appropriate carries as needed) in the row determined by the multiplier. This process was published by Napier in 1617 an a book titled Rabdologia, so the process is also called rabdology. — Wolfram MathWorld

Napier’s bones (National Museums Scotland)
Napier’s bones (Wikipedia)

Slide rule, a device consisting of graduated scales capable of relative movement, by means of which simple calculations may be carried out mechanically. Typical slide rules contain scales for multiplying, dividing, and extracting square roots, and some also contain scales for calculating trigonometric functions and logarithms. The slide rule remained an essential tool in science and engineering and was widely used in business and industry until it was superseded by the portable electronic calculator late in the 20th century. — Encyclopædia Britannica

Slide Rules (The Oughtred Society)
International Slide Rule Museum (Mike Konshak)
Slide Rules (National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution)
Slide Rules (MIT Museum) (Video)
Slide Rules (The Museum of HP Calculators)
How to use a slide rule (Ron Manley)
Slide rule (Wikipedia)

Pascaline, also called Arithmetic Machine, the first calculator or adding machine to be produced in any quantity and actually used. The Pascaline was designed and built by the French mathematician-philosopher Blaise Pascal between 1642 and 1644. It could only do addition and subtraction, with numbers being entered by manipulating its dials. Pascal invented the machine for his father, a tax collector, so it was the first business machine too (if one does not count the abacus). He built 50 of them over the next 10 years. — Encyclopædia Britannica

Mechanical calculators, Pascal (History of Computers and Computing)
Pascaline (Encyclopædia Britannica)
Pascal’s calculator (Wikipedia)


WorldCat, Library of Congress, UPenn Online Books, Open Library





The Oughtred Society: Dedicated to the history of slide rules and other calculating instruments




Here are links to pages about closely related subjects.


Function Communications Computation Storage Authoring Simulation
Analog Mail Device Paper Typewriter Automaton
Electronic Network Calculator Tape Recorder Elektro
Digital Internet Computer
Hardware Modem Microprocessor Memory Peripheral Robot, XR
Software Service (Web) Program (OS) Database Application AI, VW

Format Multimedia (Video, Animation) Image (Object) Scent, Flavor, Audio (Text) Haptic, “Other



1.   The resources on this page are are organized by a classification scheme developed exclusively for Cosma.