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Listed under:  Science  >  Scientific inquiry  >  Instrumentation (Technology)  >  Mathematical instruments  >  Counting frames  >  Abacuses
Video

BTN: What is an abacus?

An abacus is a tool that helps people solve maths problems. Why might some people still use, and encourage the use of, an abacus when there are more contemporary tools like calculators?

Image

Chinese abacus, c1900

This is a rectangular wooden abacus (15.5 cm x 29 cm x 2.5 cm), made in about 1900. It has two decks (divided horizontally by the beam) of 13 rods inserted vertically in the frame. On the bottom deck there are five wooden beads on each rod and on the top deck there are two beads on each rod. The abacus has a removable wooden ...