The Origin of the Calculator

By Connor Colburn

Origin of the Calculator

The pocket calculator was created in 1970, but before this calculator, there were many more. The first idea of a calculator came from the Sumerians and Egyptians with the creation of the abacus. This stuck until around the beginning of the 17th century when the advancement of computing tools started to rise. By 1642, the first mechanical calculator was created by a man with the name of Blaise Pascal. For more than 150 years this was the calculator, until 1820 when the arithmometer was created. However, the arithmometer was not sent out into the public until 1851. Then came the Curta Calculator in 1948, created by a man named Curt Herzstark. This was very cool for back then because it was a hand-held calculator, unlike all of the previous calculators which had to be set down on a table. Now we have the pocket calculator, and we still use it today
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Manufacturing Route

The map above shows the location of where the parts are made, the factory that the calculators are assembled in, and the calculators final destination before it gets shipped out. As you can see from this map, most of the parts made for the calculator come from China, 5 out of the 6 of them. The blue markers that are not the 2 markers closest to the left are all of the parts. These parts include, natural rubber, recycled copper, circuit boards, recycled steel, cellular glass, tin, plastic, and a battery (lithium ion). All of these parts are sent to a factory somewhere in Hotan, Xinjiang, China, where the product is manufactured and then sent to Milan, Italy where it is then sent around, by plane, for people like me to use.
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This picture above shows the tree that we get natural rubber from, which is one of the raw materials that is used to create my product. According to my source below the three biggest producers of natural rubber are Africa, Central and South America, and Asia. Added together these countries produce over 3.5 million tons of natural rubber.
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Above is a picture of another raw material that is used in my product, copper. Currently in the world the biggest producers of Copper are Chile, China, Peru, The United States, Congo, Australia, Russia, Canada, Zambia, and Mexico. Copper can be found pretty much everywhere around the world it seems.
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This is the third raw material used to make my product, plastic. Plastic itself is not a raw material, but the thing that makes up plastic is, oil. Oil is found pretty much everywhere around the world but these are the top producers: Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United States, Iran and China. Oil is a very popular product as well.
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This is the last raw material used to make my product, tin. Tin is a lot less common than all of the other raw materials used to make my product. It is only found mainly in Malaysia, Bolivia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Nigeria.

The Four Themes of Geography





The Problems with Manufacturing the Calculator

The manufacturing of my product creates a major problem in each of these categories. My product creates a major problem in the Economic category because of the oil used to make the plastic in my product. The more oil that is bought from oil companies to make my product the more money it will cost to get the oil. This rise in cost will affect other countries economies because of how much more the government has to pay. The next category that my product creates a problem in is environmental. The reason that my product creates a major environmental problem is because of how much we need oil. We destroy environmental aspects of the world just to get to the oil and that is a very big problem. The manufacturing of the calculator is also a big technological problem because of the technological parts needed to create the product. We have to use many technological pieces to create the calculator such as a circuit board, batteries, and copper wires. A calculator uses a lot of valuable materials. In the last category, cultural, my product creates a problem because of the labor that is involved with getting these resources. One of these resources is copper, people in certain countries are told to go down into a copper mine to find copper, because they are a country that has copper. This affects their culture because it becomes part of it, in a way. It is known as a job in their culture and they can't change that, that is a major problem. If you look at the manufacturing of the calculator, it really does affect the world of Globalization.
The Largest Open-Pit Mine in The World - Bingham Canyon Copper Mine
Oil Well Drilling Process with animation

Solution to Environmental Calculator Manufacturing Problem

The way that we look for oil in the ground is wrong. As shown in the video above, what we do is look for a curved-like layer of rock in the ground and hope that there is some oil in that area. But if that area is a certain landmark or some sort of wildlife lives there, the government doesn't even care about the stuff in that area, they just want the oil. When the government does this we could be destroying area of a national park or killing an animal, and that is not right. There is a safe and simple way to solve this problem. First, we relocate the animals in that area, and find them a home similar to their home they had. Second, we must notify the national park that we are drilling for oil. Finally, third, we can drill for oil without killing any animals, and we can have consent from a national park, if needed. I know that this source is a good idea because of this quote from my source below, "The survival of pronghorn antelope in Grand Teton National Park depends on their annual migration from the Upper Green River Valley. This seasonal migration is the second longest mammal migration route in the western hemisphere, clocking in at around 200 miles. But the Jonah oil and gas field has made their age-old trek incredibly difficult, and future energy development will ultimately cut off their route at key passages, threatening their survival as a species.". By reading this quote you can see that oil drilling is happening in national parks, and the government doesn't care about this antelope species, and the oil drilling is endangering them. I know that this is a viable solution to fix this environmental problem.
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My Product and Relation to Me

Calculators and the things that make up all electronics have always interested me, that is why I chose the calculator. I wanted to know how it worked, what was inside it that made it work and the way it was made. Now with all of the research that I have done I have finally figured out what is in the calculator and how it works. Another reason why I picked the calculator is because it has always played a big role in my school life. During math or science class when we were allowed to use a calculator on a test or quiz and there was a big calculation that needed to be made, there was always a calculator sitting right in front of me to make my life easier. Overall, in my life the calculator has played a big role in my academics.
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