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Calculating machine (arithmometer), Paris, France, 1880-1900

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Invented by Charles Xavier Thomas de Colmar (1785-1870) around 1820, the arithmometer was the first commercially produced calculating machine. Machines like this one were used to compile health statistics and population figures. The machine could perform basic functions such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and was in use until the First World War.

Object number:

1967-69 Pt1

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Glossary: arithmometer

An early mechanical calculator, invented around 1820, the first to be commercially sold and distributed.

Glossary: census

An official (normally governmental) count of population.