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Mathematical Treasure: Seth Partridge's Double Scale Slide Rule

Frank J. Swetz (Pennsylvania State University)

Seth Partridge (1603-1686) was an English surveyor who spent most of his life teaching mathematics in London. He developed a prototype slide rule consisting of two sliding scales. Partridge wrote a description of its construction and use in 1657, but it was not published until 1671 as A Description and Use of an Instrument Called the Double Scale of Proportion. The images shown below are from the 1692 edition of the work. The title page serves as an advertisement of the comprehensive mathematical tasks that Partridge’s instrument could accomplish.

A diagram shows the measurements for computations involving a fortification.

The images above are presented courtesy of the History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Seth Partridge's Double Scale Slide Rule," Convergence (May 2019)