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  • The Step Reckoner was a digital mechanical calculator invented by German mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz around 1672 and completed in 1694. The name comes from the translation of the German term for its operating mechanism; staffelwalze meaning 'stepped drum'. It was the first calculator that could perform all four arithmetic operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Its intricate precision gearwork, however, was somewhat beyond the fabrication technology of the time; mechanical problems, in addition to a design flaw in the carry mechanism, prevented the machines from working reliably. Two prototypes were built; today only one survives in the National Library of Lower Saxony in Hanover, Germany. Several later replicas are on display, such as the one at the Deutsches Museum, Munich. Despite the mechanical flaws of the Stepped Reckoner, it suggested possibilities to future calculator builders. The operating mechanism, invented by Leibniz, called the stepped cylinder or Leibniz wheel, was used in many calculating machines for 200 years, and into the 1970s with the Curta hand calculator. Wikipedia

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