How to do Math in 1881

1882 MathComp

Ever wonder how our calculators came out?  Well back in the 60’s and 70’s, people would use a very large computer in order to make a couple of computations.  So that was the prequel to our calculators, but what was the prequel to those computers?  Well, if we take it back to 1881, Edwin Thatcher invented this very cool calculating instrument called “Thatcher’s Calculating Instrument.”  I have no idea as to how it is used, but from looking at a couple of videos of it, your supposed find your first number then turn the scroll to the next number and then finally turn the whole device and find your answer.  This bad boy was given to one of the presidents of Lehigh back in the early 1900’s and was held passed down for the next 60 or 70 years when another Lehigh president decided to give it to the dean of Engineering.  It had been put inside a box ever since until about a week ago when it was taken out.  I cleaned a good portion of this Instrument because now that it has been rediscovered, it will be put in display.


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