Box, for arithmetical compendium

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probably made in London

Postcard of Box, for arithmetical compendium.
© National Museums Scotland

Box, for arithmetical compendium

This box is for an arithmetical compendium, a calculating device, devised in 1667 by Sir Charles Cotterell and probably made by R. Jole, a scientific instrument maker based in London.

The lid of the box is stamped with Latin text. The separate brass tool, for pushing beads and lifting out rods, is inscribed on the face shown 'Robert Jole att ye Crowne Nere ye new Exchainge fecit'.

The continuing popularity of Napierian Rods and their integration in other devices illustrates the difficulty that many had with written methods of multiplication and division in the 17th and 18th century.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-001-049-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1969.28
Date: 1667
c. 1670
Material: Boxwood case, brass binding pieces / engraved paper, silvered brass cursor, silvered brass tool. Inscription: B Robert*Jole B / T*fecit*T; The Index of ye Quotient The Index of ye Multiplier Divisor Multiplic and; The Fore Rule
Dimensions: 184 mm x 59 mm x 19 mm
What: Arithmetical compendium / case
Who: John Napier (Eponym)
Robert Jole, London (Maker)
Sir Charles Cotterel
Where: England, London
Description: Arithmetical compendium of strip form, Napier's Bones and abacus type counting board, by Robert Jole, London, c. 1670
  • Bryden, D. J., 'A Didactic Introduction to Arithmetic, Sir Charles Cotterell's 'Instrument for Arithmetick' of 1667' in History of Education 2 (1973), pp 5-18, 41-2 
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