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Abacus - Ancient Wonder - Chinese Calculating Aide
Abacus Ancient Chinese Calculator Japanese Soroban Calculating Aide Suanpan
The Chinese Suanpan, or Abacus (at bottom) and Japanese Soroban (top)
The Abacus has a rich history dating back over 800 years in China and with roots extending back over 2000 years in Rome, India and Mesopotamia.
Here is a blurry abacus video showing the Chinese suanpan and Japanese soroban and how to use them:

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An abacus is not actually a calculator, but rather a calculating aide -- the operator performs the calculations using the abacus to hold intermediate values leading to the final result.

Roman Abacus Ancient Calculator Calculating Aide
Roman Hand Abacus (inferred rendering based on ancient examples) circa 200AD
sources:, and 

The Roman abacus shown above was 'pocket-sized' (did togas even have pockets?) and made up of rounded dumbell-shaped beads sliding in vertical slots. The rightmost two columns are non-decimal and devoted to Roman ounces (twelve ounces in a Roman pound) and fractions thereof. The other columns are organized as orders of ten, operating in the same manner as using the Japanese Soroban -- the lower-deck beads count as one unit, while each bead in the upper deck counts as five.
The Romans were greatly hindered by their awkward numeral system and lack of the zero concept. However, this Roman abacus demonstrates that they did count by orders of ten and made use of zeros implicitly. The Romans performed calculations on the abacus or counting tablet in this familiar fashion, and only after the result was obtained was it recorded in Roman numerals as a final step.
For your interactive pleasure, check out the RomanCulator iPhone/iPad App page:
Wooden Abacus Russian Wood Schoty USSR USSP Ancient Calculator Calculating Aide
Russian Abacus, or Schoty (source ebay)
The Russian abacus, or Schoty (in cyrillic: счёты), uses lateral rods with ten beads per rod. The beads are colored in a way that evokes the ten digits of your hands when held with palms away -- the two dark beads (thumbs) are in the middle with four light beads (fingers) on either side. An additional dark bead on the right indicates the thousand and million rod. The 4th rod holds four beads, traditionally used for quarter rubles.
(Note: you might also enjoy a look at the amusing and surprising
LEE KAI-CHEN Abacus Suanpan Ancient Abaci Calculator Calculating Aide
Lee Kai-Chen (of Taiwan) 'Improved' Abacus (more info)
The rare and beautiful Lee Kai-Chen Improved Abacus includes an additional top mounted sub-abacus for performing intermediate operations in complex calculations.
Round Bagua Chinese Abacus Circular Suanpan Ancient Abaci Calculator Calculating Aide Ming Dynasty ChinaDaily
Round Bagua (the Eight Diagrams) Abacus, or Circular Suanpan, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)
source: ChinaDaily
Tiny Abacus Ring Finger Silver Chinese Abaci Circular Suanpan Ancient Calculator Calculating Aide Qing Dynasty ChinaDaily
Tiny Silver Finger Ring Abacus, or Chinese Suanpan Qing Dynasty (1644-1912)
source: ChinaDaily
Molecular Abacus C60 Bucky Balls On Copper World's Smallest IBM Zurich
Molecular Abacus C60 Bucky Balls On Copper World's Smallest IBMZurich.gif
World's Smallest Abacus - The Molecular Abacus (top)
Carbon-60 (bucky-ball) molecules on 'rails' of copper.
The bucky-ball 'beads' can actually be moved (bottom). Source: IBM Zurich
Here's an entertaining music video using the abacus with stop motion bead action!:

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Also of interest take a look at the "American Abacus" the Locke Adder:
Abacus Suanpan and Soroban Links: