In 1642, French wunderkind Blaise Pascal designed the first counting machine at the age of 18. The contraption, a “device that will eventually perform all four arithmetic operations without relying on human intelligence,” was created for his father, who happened to be a tax collector. Called the “Pascaline,” the machine relied on geared wheels and could add and subtract two numbers directly and multiply and divide by repetition. He made somewhere between 20 and 50 of them, but nobody was interested; 300 years later, the calculator became all the rage. In 1968, the programming language PASCAL was named after him.