What is Your Sum? The History of Computing From Abacus to Calculator

The calculation is considered to be one of the greatest intellectual achievements of the mankind. It is interesting to look at the old ways in which the human race has mastered the complex computing operations using various tools.

The aim of the latest exhibition of the Technical Museum Nikola Tesla is to introduce the public to the history of computation from the abacus to the electronic calculator.

A special part of the exhibition is devoted to the domestic industry, including Croatian companies TRS Zagreb, Digitron Buje and RIZ Zagreb, as well as Unis from Sarajevo and Ei from Niš.

The exhibition features around 500 exhibits, with oldest one being Fuller’s Cylindrical Slide Rule. There are many other such as the first Sharp electronic calculator, first pocket-programmable calculator, the slowest Pocket electronic calculator. All the way from the heaviest 60kg cash register machine to 15 gram Japanese Sun Hemmi slide rule (mechanical analog computer),  and many more intriguing exhibits.

Abacus was one of the first calculating tools used in old Mesopotamia and Egipt, there were some advancements after, but the major leap was made during the discovery of logarithms in the 17th century. Mechanical calculating machines were also introduced in the 17th century but were not reliable and available to the public until mid 19th century. Reaching their peak after WWII, mechanical calculating machines were soon surpassed by electronic computers after discoveries of transistors and integrated circuits.

What is your sum? is a historical overview of computing devices from Middle Ages to the 80’s of the twentieth century when the hyper development of general purpose computers took over.

The exhibition is opened until 30th September (Tue-Fri from 11 AM to 8 PM; Sat & Sun from 10 AM to 5 PM) at Technical Museum Nikola Tesla (Savska street, 18). For more information visit http://www.tehnicki-muzej.hr/en/