The Invention of the Slide Rule


IN NATURE of January 13 (p. 307) Dr. Alexander Russell, in writing of the invention of the slide rule, says:—“Supporting the latter view is the fact that he (Oughtred) published (1633) his ‘Mathematicall Recreations’ under the pseudonym of Henry Van Etten.” This evidently implies that Oughtred was the author of the said “Mathematicall Recreations”, whereas the very title of the work shows that it was a translation, and not an original contribution. It reads:—“Mathematicall Recreations; or a collection of sundrie problemes and experiments in arithmeticke, cosmographie, astronomie, architecture, chimistrie, &c., extracted out of the ancient and moderne philosophers, now delivered into English tongue with the examinations, corrections and augmentations by W. Oughtred.”

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POTAMIAN, B. The Invention of the Slide Rule. Nature 82, 458 (1910).

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