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Mathematical Treasure: Hawney's Complete Measurer

Frank J. Swetz (Pennsylvania State University)

William Hawney (flourished 1730) was an English schoolmaster. He wrote several texts on mathematics. His Hawney’s Complete Measurer was first published in the early part of the 18th century. It was extremely popular and went through at least eighteen English language editions, the fifth being in 1745. The mathematician Thomas Keith (1759-1824) revised and corrected the extended work. This revision was brought to America and published. Images of the third American edition (1813) are shown here.

The Measurer was a valuable resource on the practical applied uses of arithmetic for the newly developing country. The topics it covered are given in the “Table of Contents”:

This is an image of Hawney’s 1775 edition of the Complete Measurer, the fourteenth English edition:

Sources: The first and last images above are presented courtesy of the Oughtred Society, Archive of Collections, Tom Wyman Collection. Tom Wyman (1927-2014) was the first president of the Oughtred Society. He assembled an extensive collection of early slide rules and books related to them. The first and last images are, respectively, #77 and #93 in the Wyman Collection. The remaining four images are presented courtesy of the University of California Libraries via the Internet Archive.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Hawney's Complete Measurer," Convergence (June 2018)