Pascal was “Blaise” When He Invented This: 1642 – 1717

1642 CE

Frances Blaise Pascal invents the machine, called the Pascaline, that can add, subtract, and carry between digits. Pascal began to work on his calculator in 1642 when he was 19 years old. He had been assisting his father, who worked as a tax commissioner and sought to produce a device that could reduce some of his workloads. Pascal received a Royal Privilege in 1649 that granted him exclusive rights to make and sell calculating machines in France.

The Pascaline – Rama / CC BY-SA 3.0 FR (

1666 CE

Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle wrote a work of fiction called the Blazing World. In the story, a woman is kidnapped by a lovesick merchant sailor, and forced to join him at sea. After a windstorm sends the ship north and kills the men, the woman walks through a portal at the North Pole into a new world: one with stars so bright, midnight could be mistaken for midday. A parallel universe where creatures are sentient, and worm-men, ape-men, fish-men, bird-men, and lice-men populate the planet. They speak one language, they worship one god, and they have no wars. She becomes their Empress, and with her otherworldly subjects, she explores natural wonders and questions their observations using science.

1672 CE

German mathematician, Gottfried Leibniz started designing a machine which multiplied, the ‘Stepped Reckoner’. It could multiply numbers of up to 5 and 12 digits to give a 16 digit result.

1679 CE

Gottfried Leibniz demonstrates binary arithmetic, a discovery that shows every number can be represented by 0 and 1 only.

1714 CE

The first writing device (similar to a typewriter) to be patented is patented by Henry Mill in London England. He worked as a waterworks engineer for the New River Company and submitted two patents during his lifetime. One was for a coach spring, while the other was for a “Machine for Transcribing Letters”. The machine that he invented appears, from the patent, to have been similar to the typewriter, but nothing further is known.

1717 CE

Johann Heinrich Schulze is best known for his discovery that the darkening in the sunlight of various substances mixed with silver nitrate is due to the light, not the heat as other experimenters believed, and for using the phenomenon to temporarily capture shadows. The first step in photography.