1.3 Tools for arithmetic
The simple idea of calculating with tokens developed over time into devices such as the counting board. This is a special table on which calculations are made using counters. Interestingly, counting boards sometimes had a chequerboard pattern, like a chessboard, and the modern word exchequer (as in Chancellor of the Exchequer) derives from this.
The invention of writing also led to the use of written calculations. In Figure 7 you can see both methods. The person on the right is using a counting board. The person on the left seems to be calculating with something similar to the Hindu–Arabic numerals used today. (The female figure in between is a ‘personification’, representing Arithmetic.)
The next section looks at something closely related to tools: mechanisation.