It was a calculator created by mathematician Blaise Pascal in 1642 who invented a machine that could do math, it was a big clunky box, and instead of buttons it had circle-shape dials.
To add two numbers, you "dialed" the first number, then the second number. A little window above the dials showed you the "sum," the answer you get when you add.
To add really big numbers, you used a new dial for each digit.
So for 352 you would dial a 3 on the first wheel, a 5 on the second wheel and a 2 on the third.
It took almost as long as doing the math itself! But thanks to Pascal's cool gadget, we now have speedy electronic calculators today.
Additional Questions if interested:
Junior: If it takes only 2 seconds to add numbers on a cellphone, but 5 seconds longer on Pascal's machine, how many seconds did his machine take?
Bonus: How many ways can you group your fingers into 2 groups that add up to 10 (with at least 1 finger in each group)?
Middle/Senior School: If there are 5 wheels and each wheel has 10 digits, how many digits do the dials show?
Bonus: Pascal was born in 1623, and invented the mechanical calculator in 1642. How old was he when he invented it?
Senior plus: If each dial can show the numbers 0 to 9 how many different 3-digit numbers can the first 3 dials show?
Prizes for sharing your answers with Mrs Madden....