- Museum number
Abacus; brass plate; rectangular; Roman type; eight pairs of slots of varying lengths; brass beads with engraved heads and stalks riveted over below slots; painted marks between upper and lower slots of columns.
- Production date
- 18th century
Height: 1.50 millimetres
Length: 113 millimetres
Width: 82 millimetres
- Curator's comments
Discussed and illustrated in David E. Smith, History of Mathematics II, 1925, 167 ( John Leopold, c.1995)
The object may have been inspired by the illustration in Marcus Velsevus (Welser), Opera Historica, 1682, 422 ("Antiqua quae Augustae Vindelicarum ex tant Monumenta") ( John Leopold, c.1995)
There are eight pairs of slots, each consisting of a short slot, length 18 mm, above a longer slot, length 41 mm. Between pairs 7 and 8 there is a group of three short slots, each length 14 mm. Brass beads with engraved heads and stalks riveted over below the slots, each diameter 4 mm,run in the slots; upper slots 1-8 have each a single bead, lower slots 1-7 have four beads each, lower slot 8 has five beads and the three short slots have 2, 1 and 1 beads respectively. Between the upper and lower slots of columns 1- 7 are the painted marks /M /, (((1))), ((1)), (I), C, X, I. The first of these should be the Roman digit for1,000,000, the others are Roman representations of 100,000, 10,000, 1,000, 100, 10 and 1 respectively.
Analyses of the materials and inscriptions of this object were made in 1976 (these are recorded in the hard file). These indicate that this abacus is unlikely to be of the classical period and more likely a reproduction (that was possibly made in the 18th century). This is the basis for J Leopold's comments of 1995.
- Not on display
- Latest: 4 (Dec 1995) Corrosion, especially on inscription.
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: SLMathInstr.689 (?)
Miscellaneous number: SLMisc.689 (?)