Historic moments in office automation

By | August 25, 2007
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3,000 B.C.
The Chinese invent the handheld calculator. They call it ABACUS (short for “automatic business accounting and calculation utility system”). The invention enables the Bronze Age Man to count higher than 10 without removing his shoes. Other advantages include portability and a battery-less design. But it has one major drawback: no print-out capability.

600 B.C.
The Assyrians invent the library, the first known database. An earthquake the following year causes the system to crash.

444 B.C.
The Greeks invent the same-day express delivery system as a long-distance runner carries a message from Marathon to Athens. The system, however, develops a fatal design flaw (a high turnover rate of personnel) and the idea fails to catch on.

46 B.C.
Julius Caesar invents the modern calendar two weeks past deadline, but no one knows until he’s done.

A.D. 1450
Johannes Gutenberg of Germany invents the printing press, making possible an innovation known as the typographical error.

A.D. 1516
The first public postal system is established between Vienna and Berlin. The first letter sent is a bill, the second is junk mail and the third is a cheque. The first two letters arrive on time – the cheque is still in the mail.

A.D. 1795
The first digital word processor is invented by Nicolas Jacques Conte of France. He calls it the “pencil“, but consumers miss the point until five years later, when the pencil sharpener is invented.

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