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Titel: Brevis descriptio machinae arithmeticae, cum...
Verlag: Berlin, Johann Christian Papen, 1710
4to (210 x 160 mm), pp [xxii], 394, with engraved allegorical frontispiece, and 31 folding engraved plates; lightly browned as usual, heavier on some gatherings but not the Leibniz paper, a very nice copy in contemporary polished vellum, gilt lettering on spine on a gilt-framed yellow ground.First edition of Leibniz's description of his famous calculating machine, contained in the first volume of the journal of the Berlin Academy of Science, which he founded. The volume contains several other important papers by Leibniz on mathematics and physics (see Ravier 305 for a full list). Leibniz's machine, the first stepped-drum calculator, was the first machine that could perform multiplication and division.'Leibniz studied Morland's and Pascal's various designs and set himself the task of constructing a more perfect and efficient machine. To begin with, he improved Pascal's device by adding a stepped-cylinder to represent the digits 1 through 9. He almost captured one of the most important aspects of modern-day computing, but failed to see its application to mathematics. The binary system so important in present computers was envisioned by Leibniz, but he saw it in terms of religious significance . In 1694, Leibniz built his calculating machine, which was far superior to Pascal's and was the first general purpose calculating device able to meet the major needs of mathematicians and bookkeepers' (Rosenberg The Computer Prophets, p 48).'[He] invented a device now known as the Leibniz wheel and still in use in some machines . The mechanism enabled him to build a machine which surpassed Pascal's in that it could do not only addition and subtraction fully automatically but also multiplication and division . Leibniz' device enabled his machine to perform the operation of multiplication automatically by repeated additions. His idea was apparently re-invented in 1820 by Charles Xavier de Colmar' (Goldstine The Computer from Pascal to Neumann, p 7).Although Leibniz demonstrated his machine before the Royal Society and elsewhere, no description of it appeared in print until in the present form. The Brevis descriptio occupies pp 317-19, and is illustrated by one folding engraved plate. Additionally, there is an illustration of the machine at the bottom of the frontispiece to the volume.Though the volume is naturally present in some institutional holdings, it is absent from many, and is very rare on the market.Ravier 305; Parkinson p 113. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 3834
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