Why Do We Cross Off Groups Of Five On A Tally Chart?

24 April 2019, 15:37

Pen with a calculator
Picture: PA

Question: Why do we cross off groups of five when we count on a tally chart?

Name: Jeremy, Wimbledon

Qualification: Maths Historian

Answer: It’s a way of counting on paper the same way we used to with our hands.

In around the 1850s, you would have a 'tally man' to assist you with whatever you were counting and he would prove he was correct by showing you the groups of five on his hands.