John Napier's Binary Chessboard Calculator - References

Sidney J. Kolpas and Erwin Tomash


Ball, W. W. Rouse. A Short Account of the History of Mathematics (facsimile of 1912 5th ed.). New York: Sterling, 2001

Boyer, Carl. A History of Mathematics. New York, John Wiley, 1968.

Gardner, Martin. Negabinary Numbers Power a Chessboard Computer. Scientific American 228 (5) (May, 1973): 102-107.

Glaisher, James Whitbread Lee. Reports on the state of science. Report of the committee, consisting of Professor Cayley, F.R.S., Professor Stokes, F.R.S., Professor Sir W. Thomson, F.R.S., Professor H. J. S. Smith, F.R.S., and J. W. L. Glaisher, B.A., F.R.A.S. (Reporter), on mathematical tables. Extract from Report of the Forty-Third Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science for 1873 (1874): 1-175

Glaser, Anton. History of Binary and other Nondecimal Numeration. Published by Anton Glaser, 1971.

Knott, Cargill Gilston (ed.). Napier Tercentenary Memorial Volume. London: Longmans, Green, 1925.

Kolpas, Sid. Russian Multiplication, Microprocessors, and Leibniz. MAA Convergence (March 2018).

Miller, Charles D., et al. Mathematical Ideas (13th edition). Boston: Pearson, 2016.

Napier, John (William Frank Richardson, translator). Rabdology. Cambridge, Mass.: Tomash Publishers and The MIT Press, 1990.

Napier, John. Mirifici logarithmorum canonis descriptio, 1614. (Click on the title to see a copy available via Bayerische StaatsBibliothek. Edward Wright's English translation was published in 1616.)

Napier, John. Rabdologiæ seu Numerationis per Virgulas libri duo, 1617. (Click on the title to see a copy available via Google Books. See also the entry below for Tomash, Erwin and Michael R. Williams.)

Napier, John. Mirifici logarithmorum canonis constructio, 1619 (written before the Descriptio, but published posthumously by Napier's son Robert. Click on the title to see a copy available via Google Books.)

National Council of Teacher of Mathematics. Thirty-first Yearbook, Historical Topics for the Mathematics Classroom. Washington D.C., 1969.

Smith, David Eugene. Rara Arithmetica: A Catalogue of the Arithmetics Written Before the Year MDCI with a Description of Those in the Library of George Arthur Plimpton of New York. Ginn & Co, Boston, 1908.

Tomash, Erwin. The Madrid promptuary. Annals of the History of Computing 10 (1) (January 1988): 52-67.

Tomash, Erwin and Michael R. Williams. "Napier, John (1550-1617) Rabdologiae 1617, Edinburgh", Tomash Library on the History of Computing, 2009. Available as of January 2018 from the Slide Rule Museum:

Wikipedia. Binary Number:

For further exploration:

Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing descriptions of all of its works by Napier (and many other authors) are available (via the Charles Babbage Institute) here:

A beautiful online display of the portion of the Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing offered for sale by Sotheby's in September of 2018 was still available as of December 2018 at