In Pictures: Iconic Machines From Computing History
Vive la France! The ancestor of the computer is the adding machine, and one of the first and most influential was created by Blaise Pascal between 1642 and 1645. The machine, now known simply as “Pascaline,” had a number of notched wheels. Each notch represented a digit (0-9), and each wheel represented a unit (tens, hundreds, thousands, and so on). Even better, by using wheels with 12 notches instead of 10, the Pascaline was able to count in base 12, which was commonly used in the 17th century. Pascal built an estimated twenty machines, some of which can still be seen in museums today.