This week, we will introduce another engineer from the past: Torkitus, Roman Engineer. Torkitus lived in the first century BC, when the Roman Empire was forming out of the Roman Republic.

As Torkitus walked around Rome, he discovered many people with difficulties that could be figured out if only he had his abacus. One person needed to calculate the fastest way to Carthage or Smyrna. Another needed to figure out how much water to purchase for his entire household for the week. And another person needed help on the water/cement ratio of the concrete he was installing for his private road. (Concrete roads were all the rage.)

Torkitus solved all their problems by first solving his. He created a smaller version of the abacus and then, as engineers have a tendency to do, sewed a piece of cloth on the chest area of his tunic, and placed the abacus in it with a piece of thin copper sheeting in front to keep the abacus from harm from the hits the soldiers would give him as they walked by. In other words, Torkitus created his own pocket protector.

Torkitus was considered a geek. But he was a geek who was much in demand. So goes the engineer throughout history.