The pre-mechanical age is the age in which there were no kinds of computer systems. This was a very long time ago, estimated to be around 3000BC. This date is very much an estimate as it is difficult to gather evidence about what systems were in use so long ago - it could have been nearer to 500BC. Once humans had gathered the intelligence to produce computer systems - by which we mean systems used to commute information, rather than the technological electric devices used in the 21st Century - they did so in order to make calculations and such easier. Two systems invented at the end of the pre-mechanical era were the abacus and the system known as 'Napier's Bones'.

• The Abacus

The abacus is a tool that consisted originally of strings and pebbles, although those used today in the teaching of basic mathematics are made from wooden formations. The pebbles could be moved along the strings, so simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division calculations could be undertaken. The abacus contributed to the fundamentals of mathematics, mainly due to its introduction of the concept of zero. The tool is believed to have originated from China, where the very first mathematicians of time began their work.

• Napier's Bones

Napier's bones was originally made by the Scottish mathematician John Napier in 1614. The tool consists of rectangular wooden rods, which are each marked with a number at the top, with the multiples of that number listed below down the rod. By aligning the rows, multiples of the top number of the rod can be read from right to left, by adding the digits of each parallelogram in the designated row. Through this mechanism, multiplication sums are transformed into addition sums. This tool is somewhat more sophisticated than the abacus - given that it came many centuries later - but is nowhere near as complex as the modern scientific calculator we take for granted today.

• The Abacus

The abacus is a tool that consisted originally of strings and pebbles, although those used today in the teaching of basic mathematics are made from wooden formations. The pebbles could be moved along the strings, so simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division calculations could be undertaken. The abacus contributed to the fundamentals of mathematics, mainly due to its introduction of the concept of zero. The tool is believed to have originated from China, where the very first mathematicians of time began their work.

• Napier's Bones

Napier's bones was originally made by the Scottish mathematician John Napier in 1614. The tool consists of rectangular wooden rods, which are each marked with a number at the top, with the multiples of that number listed below down the rod. By aligning the rows, multiples of the top number of the rod can be read from right to left, by adding the digits of each parallelogram in the designated row. Through this mechanism, multiplication sums are transformed into addition sums. This tool is somewhat more sophisticated than the abacus - given that it came many centuries later - but is nowhere near as complex as the modern scientific calculator we take for granted today.