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A 17th-century calculating machine developed by French mathematician Blaise Pascal. After numerous prototypes, Pascal introduced his machine to the public in 1645. It could only add and subtract but gained attention because units were placed in prominent locations throughout Europe. The Pascaline inspired Gottfried Leibniz to invent his stepped drum cylinder, a major improvement that was used in calculators for centuries.

When accountants began using the Pascaline, fellow colleagues expressed grave concern that they might be replaced by technology!

The Pascaline
The Pascaline ushered in the age of mechanical calculators, which were greatly improved by the 18th century. Some nine units are known to exist today. (Image courtesy of The Computer History Museum,

A Guarantee of Authenticity
The underside of this Pascaline says "Esto probati instrumenti symbolum hoc; Blasius Pascal; arvernus, inventor, 20 Mai 1652," which means "Let this signature be the sign of an approved instrument. Blaise Pascal of Auvergne, inventor, May 20, 1652. (Image courtesy of AUCTION TEAM BREKER, Cologne, Germany, (c) 2013,
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References in periodicals archive ?
While working on adding automatic multiplication and division to Pascal's calculator, he was the first to describe a pinwheel calculator in 1685 and invented the Leibniz wheel, used in the arithmometer, the first mass-produced mechanical calculator.
Pascal's calculator could perform the four arithmetic operations - adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing - without relying on human intelligence.
The earliest programmable computer, which carried out addition, subtraction, multiplication and division without human intervention, was arguably a mechanical calculator invented during the late Renaissance in 1642 by the Frenchman Blaise Pascal, sometimes called Pascal's Calculator.