You are here

Mathematical Treasure: Jacob Kobel’s Geometrei

Cynthia J. Huffman (Pittsburg State University)

Title page of Jacob Köbel's 1535 Geometrei.

The above image is the title page of a 1535 edition of Geometrei by Jacob Kőbel. Images from a 1608 edition can also be found on Convergence, as well as an explanation of the second graphic on this title page. The woodcut illustrates determining a unit of measure called a “rood” by lining up the feet of 16 men.

Today Kőbel’s Geometrei, with its focus on measurement, is classified as a surveying book rather than a geometry book. The picture below shows measuring the height of a tower with Jacob's staffs.

Page 23 of Jacob Köbel's 1535 Geometrei.

In the next picture, a mirror (spiegel in German) is shown in a diagram with similar triangles.

Page from Jacob Kögel's 1535 Geometrei.

The page below contains information about measuring fields and one of the graphics used on the title page.

Page from Jacob Köbel's 1535 Geometrei.

A complete digital scan of Kőbel’s Geometrei, call number TA544 .K63 1535, can be found in the Linda Hall Library Digital Collections.

Images in this article are courtesy of the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology and used with permission. The images may be downloaded and used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study, provided the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology is credited as the source. For other uses, check out the LHL Image Rights and Reproductions policy.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Cynthia J. Huffman (Pittsburg State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Jacob Kobel’s Geometrei," Convergence (September 2019)

Mathematical Treasures: The Linda Hall Library