4406 entries. 94 themes. Last updated December 26, 2016.

Timeline Outline ViewEra: All Eras   |   Theme: Accounting / Business Machines


Circa 8,000 BCE
In Mesopotamia Neolithic Tokens are Developed for "Concrete" Counting
Circa 2,600 BCE
The world’s oldest datable mathematical table, from Shuruppag, c. 2600 BCE.  The first two columns contain identical lengths in descending order from 600 to 60 rods (c. 3600–360 m) and the final column contains the square area of their product.
The First Securely Datable Mathematical Table in World History
Circa 1,900 BCE – 1,700 BCE
Plimpton 322 (View Larger)
The Most Famous Document of Babylonian Mathematics
Circa 1,500 BCE – 1912How the Inca Quipu System of Mathematical Record-Keeping Worked Circa 440 BCE
Herodotus of Halicarnassus. (View Larger)
The Egyptians Reckon with Pebbles and Probably Use the Sandboard Abacus
Circa 300 BCE
The Salamis Tablet. (View Larger)
The Earliest Surviving Counting Board
10 CE
Emperor Wang Mang.
The First Income Tax
Circa 1299
A woodblock from Gregor Reisch's Margarita Philosophoca, 1508, depicting a table abacus. (View Larger)
The European Table Abacus
1343A Painted Wood Panel that Once Covered an Account Book December 10, 1478
Page from Arte dell'Abbaco. 
This unpretentious little book could almost be taken as a symbol of the third component in the collection of George A. Plimpton:
"Arte dell’Abbaco", the First Dated Printed Book on Arithmetic and the Operation of the Abacus
November 10 – November 20, 1494
Page from Summa de arithmetica geometria, proporzioni et proporzionalita at the Libarary for Humanitities and Social Sciences at the Kobe University. (Click on the image to view the full page opening.)
Pacioli Issues "Summa de arithmetica", the First Great General Work on Mathematics
Circa 1600
Japanese soroban abacus 1x5 from Meiji period (1868-1912).
The Japanese Adopt the Abacus, Calling it the Soroban
1603 – 1605
Scheiner's Pantograph.
Christopher Scheiner Invents the Pantograph, the First Copying Device?
1620 – 1640
The Village Lawyer by Pieter Breughel the Younger.
Depiction of Record Keeping by Pieter Breughel the Younger
Pierre Petit's Arithmetic Cylinder.
More Affordable and Easier to Use than the Pascaline
Title page of Samuel Morland's The Discription and Use of Two Arithmetick Instruments.
The First Book on a Calculating Machine Published in English
Charles Xavier Thomas' Arithometer.
The Thomas Arithmometer, the First Commercially Produced Mechanical Calculator
Replica of Burt Typographer.
Typing a Letter Takes Longer than Writing by Hand
May 30, 1848The First of the Industrial Insurance Companies that Processed Immense Amounts of Data 1855
The Hughes telegraph, the first telegraph printing text on a paper tape; this one was manufactureed by Siemens and Halske, Germany (Warsaw Muzeum Techniki).
David Edward Hughes Invents a Mechanism for Printing Telegraph Messages
July 1, 1862
Text of first page of HR 312 also known as the Revenue Act of 1862.
Origins of the Internal Revenue Service
Sholes and Glidden typewriter documentation.  The machine, patented on June 23, 1868, resembled
Sholes, Soule, & Glidden Invent the First Device to Allow the Operator to Write Faster than a Person Writing by Hand
1873 – 1874
Latham Sholes's 1878 QWERTY keyboard layout
The Sholes & Glidden Type Writer, with the First QWERTY Keyboard
Circular note, launched in 1874 by Thomas Cook. 
No higher resolution image available at this time.
"Circular Notes", a Precursor of Traveler's Cheques, are Introduced
Circa 1875
Detail of image from Baldwin's Calculating Machine. See larger image and resize image for complete picture.
Baldwin & Odhner Invent Calculators Using a True Variable-Toothed Gear
Thomas Edison's electric pen.
Edison Invents the "Electric Pen": Forerunner of the Mimeograph
1877300 Clerks Reviewing 2,500,000 Insurance Policies with 24 Calculators 1878
Remington Standard 2 typewriter.
Allowing the Typing of Both Upper and Lower Case Letters
1882 – 1883
Ritty and Birch's
The Cash Register is Patented
1882 – 1924Hollerith's Electromechanical Punched Card Tabulating Machine, Ancestor of IBM 1884NCR is Founded 1884
Advertisement from 1889 for the Edison-Dick Mimeograph.
The Mimeograph: The First Widely Used Duplicating Machine
Early comptometer.
Dorr E. Felt Invents the Comptometer
1887First Use of the Term "Credit Card" 1892The Burroughs Dependable Key-Driven Printing Adding Machine 1893
Millionaire mechanical calculator.
The Millionaire Calculator
1900The Automatic Punched Card Feed 1911A Mechanical Punched-Card Tabulating System 1912Brunsviga Sells 20,000 Variable-Toothed Gear Calculators in One Year 1914Thomas J. Watson President of CTR 1919800,000 Burroughs Calculators Have Been Sold 1924IBM is Founded January 25, 1927Formation of Remington Rand 1928IBM Adopts the Eighty-Column Punched Card, Standard for the Next 50 Years 1928 – 1937Key Achievements of Leslie J. Comrie, Including Foundation of the First Independent Scientific Computing Service 1933IBM Markets the First Commercially Successful Electric Typewriter 1935 – 1936The Social Security Program Creates a Giant Data-Processing Challenge Circa 1935 – 1950Charga-Plate Precursor of the Credit Card September 1935IBM's German Subsidiary, Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen, Introduces the First Automatic Sequence-Controlled Calculator 1938 – 1949Chester Carlson invents Xerography; It Becomes Successful About 20 Years Later 1941IBM Introduces a Typewriter with Proportional Spacing February 1950
Early Diners' Club card.
"Diners Club", the First Credit Card
November 17, 1951First Stored-Program Computer to Run Business Programs on a Routine Basis June 1953The First Report on the Application of Electronic Computers to Business September 1955The Beginning of Computerization of Banking July 1956The First Demonstration of Magnetic Ink Character Reading September 1958
BankAmerica card.
BankAmericard is Launched
October 1, 1958The American Express Card 1959ERMA and MICR 1959 – 1960The U.S. Banking Industry Adopts Magnetic Ink Character Recognition September 16, 1959
Xerox 914.
The Xerox 914
1961The QUOTRON Computerized Stock-Quotation System Is Introduced 1964Social Security Numbers as Identifiers 1964IBM's Magnetic Tape/Selectric Typewriter Begins "Word Processing" 1966The NY Stock Exchange Completes Automation of Trading 1966The IRS Completes Computerization of Income-Tax Processing 1967 – June 25, 1974Jack Kilby and Texas Instruments Invent the First Hand-Held Electronic Calculator 1968 – 1984Helmut Gröttrup & Jürgen Dethloff Invent the "Smart Card" Circa 1969 – 1970The First ATM is Installed at Chemical Bank in New York 1969 – 1971Gary Starkweather at Xerox Invents the Laser Printer January 1970 – May 1973IBM Performs the First Test of Magnetic Stripe Transaction Card Technology 1971George Laurer of IBM Develops the Universal Product Code 1973The Lexis Online Information Service is Introduced May 19, 1975 – January 8, 1982The Antitrust Case, U.S. v. IBM, is Tried and Eventually Withdrawn 1977Wang Inaugurates the Concept of Office Automation 1979The First Spreadsheet Program 1982Lotus Development Corporation is Founded January 1983The First "Killer App" for the PC 1986Electronic Tax Filing Begins 2003
IRS logo
Customer Account Data Engine
August 12, 2005
Gary Urton with some khipu
The First Intelligible Word from an Extinct South American Civilization?