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The Abacus History and Its Greats

19 Aug,2020

The Abacus History and Its Greats

The Abacus History and Its Greats
How is the abacus history significant for students?

After reading this article, you will discover its greats.

I'm the author of this article and I'm a qualified abacus teacher, answering questions from around the world online abacus and various questions from online-soroban.com students.

Table of contents

1. How Is the Abacus History Important and What Are Its Greats?

How Is the Abacus History Important and What Are Its Greats?

An abacus is a mechanical device used to assist a person in performing mathematical calculations.

It is a frame with beads or balls that can be slid on wires or in slots, for doing or teaching arithmetic.

In a nutshell, it is an open wooden rectangular shape with beads on vertical rods.

Each of them represents different numbers.

This tiny tool is divided into two parts, the upper part, and the lower part.

The division is marked by a center rod which is called a bar.

The Latin word ABACUS came from 'abakos', the Greek genitive form of abax ("calculating-table") which also means a "flat surface."

The abax was inspired by a table sprinkled with sand or dust that was used to draw geometric figures.

Back in the day, people used different types of calculation tools to count and do arithmetic long before they invented numbers.

Mostly, they calculated problems by moving units around on different platforms.

Today, this tool is still in use in many countries, especially those in Asia and Africa.

One of the benefits of this tool is that logical reasoning is enhanced.

Children will not end up relying on a calculator.

It improves speed and accuracy which helps to build better and faster calculation skills.

It boosts confidence.

It also improves memory and concentration.

The truth is, there is a lot to discuss.

If you want to know more like the origin, modifications, and variations, please continue on.


1-1.What Do You Know About the Abacus History and Beginning Greats?

What Do You Know About the Abacus History and Beginning Greats?
Just like how every single object has a deep-rooted origin, the abacus also has its beginning too.

It has been in use since ancient times.

At that time it was a little different from what we used but still, it worked similarly.

The abacus, also the soroban, was probably the first calculating device that inventors created.

Even though the oldest Abacus found is said to be as old as belonging to 300 B.C., they were used in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, Greek, Rome, and it is still in use in many countries today, especially in Asia and Africa.

The oldest counting board that has been found is called the Salamis Tablet.

It was found on the island of Salamis, a Greek island, in 1899.

It was used by the Babylonians around 300 B.C.E as drawings of people using counting boards have been found dating back to the same time period.

There is evidence that people were using abacuses in ancient Rome (753 B.C.E.–476 C.E.). A few hand soroban from this time had also been found there.

However, they resemble the Chinese and Japanese abacuses, suggesting that the use of the soroban spread from Greece and Rome to China, and then to Japan and Russia.

Mainly this origin is divided into three main ages.

Here is a quick summary of the soroban: ANCIENT TIMES - Where the Salamis Tablet, the Roman Calculi, and Hand-abacus were fount to be from the period c. 300 B.C.E. to c. 500 C.E. THE MIDDLE AGES where the Apices, the Coin-board, and the Line-board are from the period c. 5 C.E. to c. 1400 C.E. Last, the MODERN TIMES where The Suan-pan, the Soroban, and the Schott were found and still used today.


1-2.What Are the Different Types of the Abacus History Greats?

What Are the Different Types of the Abacus History Greats?
This soroban tool is a manual device that helps children to develop mental math abilities.

Students are able to train your mind and understand the fundamentals of math using an interactive approach and fun.

Although it is not a new invention, it has gone through a lot of modifications in different parts of times in different parts of the world.

How did the soroban become the tool that it is today?

Let us discover the variations and differences that made the soroban become the wonderful tool that it is today.

The Roman Abacus was made of the metal plate where the beads move alone grooved lines. It was developed for money changers and businessmen.

Afterward, they also invented three other variations called The Dust Abacus, The Line Abacus and, The Grooved Abacus.

The Chinese counterpart created the suanpan.

It was mentioned in a 190 C.E. book of the Eastern Han Dynasty, namely Supplementary Notes on the Art of Figures written by Xu Yue.

The Japanese soroban was developed in the 14th century derived from Chinese Abacus.

Created in Taiwan, Lee’s Abacus is described as an improved version of suanpan and soroban.

It was invented in 1950 by Lee Kai Chen in Taiwan.

It's more fast and efficient and can calculate many complex numbers.

There is also a Binary type where A series of beads in parallel wires are arranged on three separate rows, with each bead representing counter as “on” and “off” or “1” or “0”


1-3. How Has the Abacus History Greatly Influence Today?

How Has the Abacus History Greatly Influence Today?
While everything gets better with time, so did the Abacus.

In ancient times, the soroban was used for calculating numbers mainly by traders, bankers, and businessmen.

But now, as technology takes over all these old materials, it has lost its importance and significance.

On the brighter side, Asia and some western countries still use this tool for educational purposes.

Institutions like educational centers use it to teach students, mainly children how to solve math problems quickly and instantly.

Modern soroban that you use today consists of a wooden frame, rods, and beads.

Each rod represents a different place value and each bead represents a number.

These beads can be moved along the rods.

So nowadays, this wonderful tool is used to teach children addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.


Being able to use the soroban helps you to increase your mental calculator abilities.

It cultivates the seed of will power in you so that you can unleash your potential to do anything you set out to do.

Online Soroban is available for lessons and consultation twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.



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Abacus history
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