Napier's bones, c 1690.
3 3 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 25cm

Napier's bones, c 1690.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


John Napier (1550-1617), discoverer of logarithms, also created this popular calculating tool known as Napier's cylindrical 'rods' or 'bones'. Napier's rods reduced multiplication to a sequence of simple additions and could also be used for division and to calculate square roots. This set is made from boxwood, with a boxwood case.

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