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Mathematical Treasure: Kegel's Commercial Arithmetic

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

Neu-Vermehrte Arithmetica Vulgaris, et Practica Italica (1696) is a nice little arithmetic text written for the commercial mathematical needs of the 17th century Frankfurt community. No information is available on the principal author Johann Michael Kegel other than that he was apparently a mathematics teacher at the gymnasium in Frankfurt. The frontispiece depicts the commercial activities of the city of Frankfurt as well as its harbor.          

Title page from Neu-Vermehrte Arithmetica Vulgaris, et Practica Italica  by Johann Michael Kegel, 1696

The “Division Table” provides examples of quotients with remainders expressed as fractions.

Division table from Neu-Vermehrte Arithmetica Vulgaris, et Practica Italica  by Johann Michael Kegel, 1696

The images above were obtained through the courtesy of the Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing, Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota.

Erwin Tomash (1921-2012) was a pioneering computer scientist, helping launch the U.S. computer industry from the 1940s onward. During the 1970s he became interested in the history of computer science, and founded the Charles Babbage Society, and its research arm, the Charles Babbage Institute. The Institute, an archive and research center, is housed at the University of Minnesota. Its Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing began with Tomash's 2009 donation to the Institute of much of his own collection of rare books from the history of mathematics and computing. (Source: Jeffrey R. Yost, Computer Industry Pioneer: Erwin Tomash (1921-2012), IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, April-June 2013, 4-7.)

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Kegel's Commercial Arithmetic," Convergence (August 2018)

Dummy View - NOT TO BE DELETED