An abacus is an ancient calculating and counting machine made from a frame of parallel wires on which beads are strung. The abacus device is thought to have evolved and taken its name from the very ancient practice of calculating with a handful of stones on a flat surface. The Latin for flat surface is the word abacus.

This method of calculating was used by the Greeks and Romans and was also known to earlier civilisations; the ancient Babylonians may have used it.

The abacus has developed and survives in current usage as the more sophisticated bread frame form of the Russian schoty and the Japanese soroban. In other cultures, the abacus has been replaced by the electronic calculator that we are all very familiar with.

The wires of a bead frame abacus define place value. For example, in the decimal number system, each successive wire from right to left would stand for ones, tens hundreds, thousand etc. The beads are slit to the top of each wire in order to represent the digits of a particular number.

This method of calculating was used by the Greeks and Romans and was also known to earlier civilisations; the ancient Babylonians may have used it.

The abacus has developed and survives in current usage as the more sophisticated bread frame form of the Russian schoty and the Japanese soroban. In other cultures, the abacus has been replaced by the electronic calculator that we are all very familiar with.

The wires of a bead frame abacus define place value. For example, in the decimal number system, each successive wire from right to left would stand for ones, tens hundreds, thousand etc. The beads are slit to the top of each wire in order to represent the digits of a particular number.