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Mathematical Treasure: 19th-century British Copybook

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

A British schoolboy named Hugh Hansford made this ciphering book (a notebook for copying and writing mathematical exercises) at the Free School in Gillingham in 1818. The problems shown have to do with gauging, measuring the volume of barrels. For more on this area of mathematical practice, see Judith Grabiner’s “A Mathematician among the Molasses Barrels: Maclaurin's Unpublished Memoir on Volumes,” Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society 39 (1996): 193–240.

H. Hansard's ciphering book from 1818.

This object is MS 0337 in the collections of the Science Museum, London.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: 19th-century British Copybook," Convergence (December 2020)