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In 1642, the Renaissance saw the invention of the mechanical calculator (by Wilhelm Schickard and several decades later Blaise Pascal ), a device that was at times somewhat over-promoted as being able to perform all four arithmetic operations with minimal human intervention. Pascal's calculator could add and subtract two numbers directly and thus, if the tedium could be borne, multiply and divide by repetition. Schickard's machine, constructed several decades earlier, used a clever set of mechanised multiplication tables to ease the process of multiplication and division with the adding machine as a means of completing this operation. (Because they were different inventions with different aims a debate about whether Pascal or Schickard should be credited as the "inventor" of the adding machine (or calculating machine) is probably pointless. ) Schickard and Pascal were followed by Gottfried Leibniz who spent forty years designing a four-operation mechanical calculator, the stepped reckoner, inventing in the process his leibniz wheel, but who couldn't design a fully operational machine. There were also five unsuccessful attempts to design a calculating clock in the 17th century.

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