The return of the abacus

Mathematics is not my forte, but I’ve spied four abacuses within the past three months. Which begs the question, why now? Why here? Is this some wildly improbable coincidence? Or the beginning of a new trend in home decor? Given enough time, finer minds than mine will no doubt solve these and other vexing questions. My interest lies in the more philosophical questions this cluster of abacus sightings poses. Is it nostalgia for a simpler time that makes them so attractive? Or perhaps we can sense the accumulated energy of the people who used them? If so, then why does the new CB2 version look so darn good? Are they inherently more beautiful than calculators? Or any piece of technology? Will a crafty person someday create a wall collage with the used iPhones they collected from thrift stores and garage sales? Is any of this adding up?

Top image: Although she’s not an abacist, food and prop stylist Johanna Brannan Lowe did use an abacus in the decor of her Buchanan, Michigan home.

Ipso Facto


Architectual Anarchy

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3 Responses to “The return of the abacus”

  1. I think they make a great decorating statement – so graphic and colorful. And, you could drive yourself crazy trying to figure out how to use one.

  2. Hi, Tate! Abacuses for decorating? The CB2 certainly seems to be designed for just that purpose. The more traditional one that is actually used for calculating is the vertical rod model from Architectural Anarchy. However, like Hannah, I am not likely to invest the time to learn how to use one, just as I was soundly defeated in my efforts to master the slide rule in Grade 11. I’ll just enjoy their symmetry and colours!

  3. random thought: I think old rat traps can make for very interesting home accent, I wonder when CB2 will start that trend?