Picture of the Day: The Leibniz Calculator, 1727

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This illustration of the inner workings of a Leibniz calculator was originally published in Theatrum arithmetico-geometricum, das ist by Jacob Leupold. The Leibniz calculator, invented by Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, was the most advanced mathematical machine of its time, and could perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The central mechanism, a stepped drum that turned a counting wheel, was used in calculators for more than two centuries.

Image: Library of Congress.




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Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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