Due to the absence of electricity and modern industrial technology, the early computing data processing was all manual and mechanical.
Fingers were man’s earliest calculating device. By increasing or decreasing the number of fingers he displayed he was able to perform simple subtraction and addition. But finger counting has its limitations so man developed more sophisticated devices for counting.
The Quipu was the very first analog computer used by Incan tribes (ancient Indian civilization in North America). The computation was done by counting the number of knots.
The Abacus was the next analog computer which was developed in China in the 12th Century A.D. The device has a frame with its beads strung on wires or rods. Arithmetic calculations are performed by manipulating the beads. It was also known as Soroban in Japan and Suan Pan in China. To these days, old folks still use this device despite the presence of modern calculator especially at China Towns in different countries. The old folks are used to it compare to calculators.
Napier’s Bones is composed of eleven rods with numbers marked on them in such a way that by simply placing the rods side by side products and quotients – large numbers can be obtained. The sticks were called bones because it is made of bone or ivory. It was named after Scottish mathematician John Napier, who is famous for his invention of logarithms.