Re: Delamain's "Grammelogia, The Mathematical Ring"

Tom and Lu Wetmore

E. Dean,

Wow! I am so covetous of your collection! There must be some wonderful stories to be told on how it came to be.

I have four cardboard boxes used to ship wine bottles on the floor of my office. Each box has 12 compartments. My wife covered the boxes with contact paper to make them look like marble. I have one to three slide rules tucked into each compartment. There is a K&E section, Post section, Dietzgen section, Hemmi section, Faber/Castell section, Flying Fish section, miscellaneous section. No Pickett section though (can't stand 'em)!


Tom W.

On Feb 14, 2020, at 4:26 PM, Edward Dean Butler <edeanbutler@...> wrote:

Hi Tom:

What you are doing is very interesting and very much aligned with my own slide rule interests.

Like you, I tend to focus on very early rules and the more complicated very late slide rules. I am especially interested in the multitude of what I regard as SOHO variants. I have several from the early 19th century. My collection includes many (too many) Gunter rules (60 or 70), several very early SOHO rules, a Lunar Corrector and numerous early engineering folding rules of several variants, including mast makers rules, dialing rules, ship making rules, steam engineering rules, etc. Last but not least I have examples of most of the better known long scale rules, such as Hannington, Cooper, etc.

I have an original copy of Gunter’s book, which I treasure —  one of the later (and thus longer) editions.

An original copy of the 1761 Thomas Abel book is coming up for auction here in the UK, but decent scanned (as opposed to OCR) copies are available for very little money.

Like you, I am a fan of the Flying Fish 1003. There was a huge range of sophisticated late period Chinese slide rules, but they are difficult to find, even in China where slide rules do not seem to have much of a following. I wish someone would write a book about them.

I do hope you will publish what you are doing — would be of great interest to a few of us. These days it is easy and inexpensive to “print on demand.”  Lightening Source UK Ltd. do this work in the UK, including for Amazon.

The UK slide rule club will be meeting at my home 22 March, should you want to come over!

E Dean Butler
Broughton Green, UK

On Feb 14, 2020, at 8:40 PM, Tom and Lu Wetmore via Groups.Io <ttw4@...> wrote:

E. Dean,

Thanks for contacting me. I am in Massachusetts, USA, close to a Cambridge, but not the right one!

I have a lead on getting an electronic version of "Grammelogia" from EEBO (Early English Books Online), but I need a local library with access, as EBBO don't serve individuals. My local library does not have access, but I have a sister at an academic library, and a son at Columbia Univ., so I am hopeful.

I have been fiddling with ideas of publishing stuff about slide rules for years, but nothing has come to fruition. The world absolutely does not need another basic slide rule how-to book! My main two interests are the early history of the slide rule, (the Napier, Briggs, Gunter, Oughtright, Delamain, etc., connections primarily) and the mathematical underpinnings of the scales and how to best describe the maths used to lay them out. As an aid to my own understanding I have come up with a standard template I use to show precisely how the layout is done. I've used the same template for many scales, including some of the more esoteric ones.

I'm 70 years old, always been a bit of a math geek, and was very lucky to be in the last generation that required a slide rule to get through engineering at university. My first rule was bought at the Carnegie Mellon Univ. book store in 1967, five years before the great demise!

I have a nice but small collection, nothing very old. At this point I am most interested in getting examples with the more esoteric scales. I have lots of favorite rules, but right now the Flying Fish 1003 stands out; a beautiful rule; it was great fun to work through its many scales. I guess my pride and joy is the 24 inch boxwood Gunter's rule I have -- causes goosebumps when I imagine what it went through during its active life.

All the best. I really appreciate your posts. You seem strongly grounded in all things slide rule!

Tom Wetmore

On Feb 14, 2020, at 3:04 PM, Edward Dean Butler via Groups.Io <edeanbutler@...> wrote:


Where are you located? Certainly the Cambridge library will give you access to their copy — if you can get to Cambridge.

Do you intend to publish the work you are doing?

E Dean Butler
Broughton Green, UK

On Feb 14, 2020, at 6:06 PM, Tom and Lu Wetmore via Groups.Io <ttw4@...> wrote:

I am [slowly] transcribing some of the original works pertaining to the history of the slide rule. Original works of Napier, Briggs, Gunter, Forster, Oughtred, Partridge all coming along.

But I need to find a copy of Delamain's "Grammelogia, The Mathematical Ring," to even pretend to be complete. The publication of this in 1630 set off fireworks. Delamain's treatment of Oughtred was extremely negative, at least in Oughtred's reply to it, which I do have, and which is wonderful to read. Originals of more than one edition of "Grammelogia" are I believe in Cambridge libraries. I cannot find any copies online in the usual places for antiquarian papers.

Does anyone know of any location where a copy might exist that I could use for transcription?

Thanks very much,

Tom Wetmore

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