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Mathematical Treasure: Hoppus's Measurer

Frank J. Swetz (Pennsylvania State University)

Edward Hoppus was an English surveyor who introduced the Hoppus, an eponymous unit of measurement to give the solid content and the value of any piece of timber, stone or other building material, square or round. His book Hoppus's Measurer: a book of early wood frame construction tables & guides for the mathematically disinclined was first published in 1736 as Hoppus's Measurer, or Measuring Made Easy to the Meanest Capacity. According to WorldCat, the second edition of Practical Measuring Made Easy to the Meanest Capacity by a New Set of Tables was published in 1738, and the book was reprinted throughout the 18th century and well into the 19th. This was its most common title, but it also appeared regularly under the title shown here, Hoppus's Tables for Measuring, or Practical Measuring Made Easy, by a New Set of Tables, with no mention of "the meanest capacity" of its potential readers. Note that, by the 1837 publication date of this edition, Hoppus was a "late surveyor," presumably having flourished 100 years earlier.

Source: Oughtred Society, Archive of Collections, Tom Wyman Collection. Tom Wyman (1927-2014) was the first president of the Oughtred Society. Wyman assembled an extensive collection of early slide rules and books related to them. The image above is from Item #133 in the Wyman Collection.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

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