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Mathematical Treasure: Manuscript for a Reckoning Master

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

An anonymous, early eighteenth century manuscript perhaps served an English reckoning master as a reference. This work is written in English and Latin. Its contents, with the exception of the subject chemistry, serve as an example of the topics of mathematical importance a reckoning master of this period would consider.

The introduction to numeration and arithmetic is rather concise.

The rules of “Fellowship,” “Alligation,” and “False Position” were basic subjects in any study of arithmetic.

On page 12 of this manuscript is a discussion of finding the “greatest common factor” of two given numbers. Such consideration is unusual and advanced for this time.

The section on geometry supplies basic definitions and theorems.

The images above were obtained through the courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries.


Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Manuscript for a Reckoning Master," Convergence (June 2017)