VISITORS to an Oxford museum got a chance to see one of the world’s first calculators in action.

Museum of the History of Science curator Stephen Johnston demonstrated and discussed the arithmometer, a 19th century counting device which revolutionised how people did sums.

Visitors learned about how the device works and the history behind its design, considered to be the inspiration for modern calculators.

Mr Johnston said: “Sunday’s talk went remarkably well.

“It was linked with our Steampunk exhibition, which demonstrates the designs of Victorian age inventors.

“People were queuing outside the door to get in.”

The arithmometer, patented in France in 1820, was the first commercially successful mechanical calculator. It could perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division using a system of levers.