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Abacus, also called a counting frame, is a calculating tool that was in use centuries before the adoption of the written modern numeral system and is still widely used by merchants, traders and clerks in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere. Today, abaci are often constructed as a bamboo frame with beads sliding on wires, but originally they were beans or stones moved in grooves in sand or on tablets of wood, stone, or metal. The user of an abacus is called an abacist.

The Chinese abacus is called Suanpan.There are two beads on each rod in the upper deck and five beads each in the bottom for both decimal and hexadecimal computation. The beads are usually rounded and made of a hardwood. The beads are counted by moving them up or down towards the beam. If you move them toward the beam, you count their value. If you move away, you don't count their value. The suanpan can be reset to the starting position instantly by a quick jerk along the horizontal axis to spin all the beads away from the horizontal beam at the center.

Suanpans can be used for functions other than counting. Unlike the simple counting board used in elementary schools, very efficient suanpan techniques have been developed to do multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, square root and cube root operations at high speed.

I found this Suanpan while I did the clean up for my parents' home today. My father used to work with it as calculator. My father bought this Suanpan in Hong Kong during the year of 1950s.

Sources: Wikipedia

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Anna Ho (imageme) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 187 W: 0 N: 311] (1532)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2014-03-20
  • Categories: Artwork
  • Exposure: f/3.5, 1/60 seconds
  • Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2014-03-20 17:00
Viewed: 530
Points: 24
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