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Mathematical Treasure: Kraus's Lengthy Commercial Arithmetic

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Elias Kraus was a German mathematician. His very large (1600+ pages) book, Pandectae & Digesta Arithmetices, published in 1722, was devoted completely to the solving of commercial problems. Note that the author's reckoning art for the businessman included arithmetic procedures as well as algebra.

Title page of Pandectae & Digesta Arithmetices by Elias Kraus, 1722

The image above was obtained through the courtesy of the Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing, Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota.

Erwin Tomash (1921-2012) was a pioneering computer scientist, helping launch the U.S. computer industry from the 1940s onward. During the 1970s he became interested in the history of computer science, and founded the Charles Babbage Society, and its research arm, the Charles Babbage Institute. The Institute, an archive and research center, is housed at the University of Minnesota. Its Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing began with Tomash's 2009 donation to the Institute of much of his own collection of rare books from the history of mathematics and computing. (Source: Jeffrey R. Yost, Computer Industry Pioneer: Erwin Tomash (1921-2012), IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, April-June 2013, 4-7.)

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Kraus's Lengthy Commercial Arithmetic," Convergence (August 2018)