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Mathematical Treasure: Early Modern British Advertisements and Business Cards

Author(s): 
Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

From the reign of Queen Elizabeth I well into the middle of the 19th century, Great Britain experienced a popularization of mathematics movement. Efforts were made to increase the knowledge and use of mathematics throughout the population. For instance, mathematics was deemed important for trade and maritime activities. Two results of this informal campaign were an increase of mathematics masters (teachers) for private hire and a proliferation of mathematical instrument makers. Each occupation advertised their services by the use of “trade cards”.

Some examples of teachers looking for work from 1694 and 1750–1770:

1694 advertisement by a mathematics teacher.

Advertisement for mathematics teaching from 1750-1770.

Wares offered by makers of scientific instruments in advertisements dating from the 18th century:

Advertisement by mathematical instrument maker, 1791-1822.

Advertisement by chandler and instrument maker Joseph Stanley, 18th century.

Advertisement for mathematical instruments, 18th century.

Advertisement for mathematical instruments, 1674-1702.

Advertisement for mathematical instruments, 1752-1785.

Advertisement for mathematical instruments, 1837.

This selection is presented through the courtesy of The Science Museum, London.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Early Modern British Advertisements and Business Cards," Convergence (December 2020)