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From Napier to Lucas: The Use of Napier's Bones in Calculating Instruments

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The paper surveys the development of different types of calculating machines that have used the idea of John Napier's "bones. " After showing how to use the bones, the paper discusses the machines of such mathematicians as Wilhelm Schickard, Samuel Morland, Gaspard Schott, Athanasius Kircher, Edouard Lucas, and Henri Genaille. A newly discovered manuscript by Rene Grillet (from the late seventeenth century) provided the base for a study of Grillet's work and a remarkable arithmetic instrument he invented in 1678, using the idea of Napier's bones.

Published in:

Annals of the History of Computing  (Volume:5 ,  Issue: 3 )

Date of Publication:

July-Sept. 1983

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