The types of abacus are described below with their history:
- Dust Abacus: In the form of a board covered with fine sand or dust, the abacus is commonly used for calculations. The sand was classified into lines, in which all lines describe a different numerical position. The numbers and quantities were calculated with the help of several marks, which had drawn with lines. It is believed that the civilization of Mesopotamia may have used this type of initial calculator.
- Line Abacus: Over time, it was developed into a ruled board, which had pebbles located on lines. It is widely used in Greece, Egypt, Rome, India, and other very old civilizations. Preserved at the Athens Museum, Salamis abacus is a popular example of the line abacus. It contains a white marble board on which lines are drawn.
- Grooved Abacus: Besides the line abacus, Romans was used as a highly advanced layout. Each of the upper groves contained one counter, and the lower groves contained four counters. Furthermore, some of the other counters were included on the right to make the calculation easier related to fractions.
- Ancient Chinese Abacus: It was very similar to the old grooved abacus in both terms the construction and method of calculation. The below image describes the early Chinese abacus that was assumed from a book. This book’s name was Mathematical Treatises, which was written by Hsu Yo around 1700 years ago, and later 300 years annotated by Chen Luan.
- Soroban (Japanese Abacus): In Japan, the Chinese abacus and its functionalities were introduced at the beginning of the 15th century. After a long time in Japan, a Japanese method of the soroban operation was introduced, which was different from the Chinese abacus method. It was developed after doing continuously and hard study by the popular mathematicians. The size of Chinese abacus was very large, it was improved and made a handier smaller-size.
Later, the soroban was introduced at the end of the 19th century on which each rod included one five-unit counter and four one-unit counters. It was introduced in use along with the older type abacus. The functionality of the soroban operation was mentioned in arithmetic compiled books of national grade-school by the Education Ministry in 1938.
Today, on each rod, one five-unit counter and four one-unit counters are contained by the standard soroban. The Japanese division method offers an easier way to make use of the multiplication table. It replaced the older Chinese division method that was able to make use of the complex division table. Two reasons are behind the popularity of soroban in Japan, which are given below:
- It was included in the syllabus of Japanese compulsory education.
- The enforcement of the soroban efficiency tests system since its establishment in 1928.