Abacus

Written By
Paul Tracy
Updated August 5, 2020

What is an Abacus?

An abacus is a counting device that performs basic mathematical functions.

How Does an Abacus Work?

The abacus is believed to have been developed in the ancient Near East in the third millennium BCE. An abacus consists of a series of thin parallel bars set into a rectangular frame, usually made of wood. Each bar contains a number of beads that slide along its length. Individuals use the beads as number counters and use the abacus to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Why Does an Abacus Matter?

The abacus has been in continuous use since its conception. It is still widely used in Far Eastern cultures including China and Japan.