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Problems from Another Time

Individual problems from throughout mathematics history, as well as articles that include problem sets for students.

A gentleman has bought a rectangular piece of land whose perimeter is to be 100 rods; and he is to pay 1 dollar for each rod in the length of the land and 3 dollars for each rod in the breath of the land.
How long does it take a single man to do work when...
A vessel is anchored in 3 fathoms of water and the cable passes over a sheave in the bowspirt which is 6 ft above the water.
Wanting to know the breadth of a river, I measured a base of 500 yards in a straight line close by one side of it.
Given the dimensions of an isosceles trapezoid find the length of the transversal drawn parallel to the bases that divides the trapezoid into 2 equal areas.
The number 50 is divided by a certain number. If the divisor is increased by 3, the quotient decreases by 3.75. What is the number?
A castle has n rooms each of which has 7 samurai in it.
Find two number with sum 20 and when squared their sum is 208.
I was employed to survey a field, which I was told was an exact geometrical square, but by reason of a river running through it, I can only obtain partial measurements.
A ladder has 100 steps. On the first step sits 1 pigeon; on the second, 2; on the third, 3; and so on up to the hundredth. How many pigeons in all?

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