55-56) Chinese mathematics was in decline as Japanese interests were developing.
"The scholar Mori Shigeyoshi [early to mid 17th century] who flourished in this period is Japan's first 'mathematician'.
Within 5 years, the slide rule industry was out of business.
What I did not stop to realize was that the abacus industry also was displaced by the basic electronic four-function calculator, creating significant changes in that part of Japanese manufacturing. Abacus is a Latin word meaning sand tray, that has its origins in the Greek words abax or abakon (meaning "table" or "tablet") which in turn, possibly originated from the Semitic word abq, meaning "sand" Specimens for this gallery, currently under construction, are being acquired through selective purchases and donations by Friends of the Museum.
In the early days of hand held calculators, news of suanpan operators beating electronic calculators in arithmetic competitions in both speed and accuracy often appeared in the media.
Early electronic calculators could only handle 8 to 10 significant digits, whereas suanpans can be built to virtually limitless precision.
I hope to learn more about this as together, we build this gallery. As I do with the other galleries, I wish to get donations of abacus from users from different countries so that we can place a name and history with them. As this gallery is being constructed, one of the best references for the history and use of Abaci is Totten Heffelfinger's website out of Toronto, Canada.
Other references, images and texts are provided Wickipedia and other sources.
Suanpan arithmetic was still being taught in school in Hong Kong as recently as the late 1960s, and in Republic of China into the 1990s.
However, when hand held calculators became readily available, school children's willingness to learn the use of the suanpan decreased dramatically.
I now understand the significance of the dots on the bridge of sorobans.
I was also surprised, when I started receiving these, at how small most are.
In mainland China, formerly accountants and financial personnel had to pass certain graded examinations in bead arithmetic before they were qualified.