Was there life before computer?

calculating instruments before the digital era

Teaching Aids

Vai alla versione italiana

To practice with the the old calculating devices is not necessary to buy them: you can build one of these proposed below, perfect to be used in the classroom for educational purposes. They are made of paper, but reliable and accurate. Print in "Fit to Printable Area" mode.

Download The Slide Rules

The file pdf The Slide Rules contains this material with English instructions:

  • An easy to build paper slide rule;
  • Two sheets with metric and log scale to introduce the slide rule;
  • The Time-Speed Scale, an amazing nautical calculator.

Download The Nomography

The file pdf Nomography contains this material with English instructions:

  • Metric and logharitmic nomograms;
  • The Lalanne's Abaque.

Download The Ruler

The zip file ruler contains a ruler printable on a transparency film, useful to calculate with the Nomograms and the Lalanne's Abaque.

Download The Easy E6-B

The file pdf Easy E6-B contains this material with English instructions:

  • The "Easy E6-B", a full working flight computer.

A paper slide rule is a real instrument and can be used in flight!

Download the software

The file zip contains the following software, with English instructions:

  • The Sneaky Calculator;
  • The virtual slide rule;
  • The virtual E6-B;
  • The virtual Consul Monkey;
  • The virtual HP-35.

This calculator is useful to check the level of students' attention

A Virtual Pascal Machine can be obtained from eduMedia. It's needed to illus- trate the nine's complement method and to link this method with that of the complements of 2 used in natural binary encoding (computers).

To pratice with original instruments you can found the instructions to buy a start set in this page or in this pdf document.

Download my history of the calculating instruments in pdf


All my works are provided under the terms of the Creative Commons license "Attribution - Noncommercial - Share Alike - 3.0 Unported".

Anyone is free to reproduce, distribute, communicate to the public, expose it or modify it under the following conditions:

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Nicola Marras 2008


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