Arithmometer Explained

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Everything You Need To Know

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An arithmometer is a mechanical calculator capable of complex calculations. It’s capable of addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication with up to six-digit results.

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Who invented the arithmometer?

Thomas de Colmar is credited as the inventor of the arithmometer. He built on the ideas and work of other inventors and his calculating machine was further improved upon by other inventors.

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Arithmometer History

During his lengthy stay with the armies of Marchall Soult, where he needed to perform a great deal of calculations, Charles-Xavier Thomas de Colmar conceived the idea of the arithmometer.

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General view from the 1820 patent of Colmar

Thomas’s arithmometer was first made public in 1820 when he was granted a five-year patent for his calculating machine.

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Arithmometer: How It Worked

It had a three-digit capacity in the input mechanism and a six-digit capacity in the result mechanism. It only had the clearance of the single result digits.

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In the second model of 1848, the complex and unreliable movement mechanism with ribbon was replaced by a crank at the front side, which could be rotated in two directions according to the value of the particular digit in the multiplier/divisor.

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