Mathematical Charts and TablesTables for Monetary Transactions
Tables for Monetary Transactions
American merchants, bankers, and employers have used a wide range of tables to ensure the accuracy of monetary transactions. Some of these tables were produced for stand–alone use, while others were designed to aid those calculating with machines.
As early as 1812, Joseph Jelleff of New York State patented a disc with printed scales used for interest calculations. Versions of this instrument sold at least into the 1830s. William B. Leavitt of New Hampshire copyrighted a similar wooden instrument in 1845. A few years later, Samuel S. Young of Ohio patented a linear instrument for interest calculations. In 1867, Albert Pierson of New Jersey patented a rather different device, in which the tables were mounted on rotating prisms, for the same purpose. Manufacturers of computing machines, such as Felt & Tarrant Manufacturing Company of Chicago and the Marchant Calculating Machine Company of California distributed interest tables to assist those using their products.
Those assessing and paying taxes also used tables. In 1879, Robert Levin Mudd, a county clerk in Illinois, patented a device to ease the work of correctly accessing taxes. In the 1930s, New York entrepreneurs introduced the Costometer, which was designed in part to assist in calculating newly introduced Social Security taxes. Tables also were used for computing both markups and discounts on goods sold, and for finding the total cost of sales, as when multiplying the rate of shipping freight per pound by the number of pounds shipped. Sometimes it is unclear precisely why units used were chosen, as in a handwritten multiplication table collected from a Massachusetts manufacturer of shuttles for looms.
"Mathematical Charts and Tables - Tables for Monetary Transactions" showing 1 items.
- In the early 19th century, Joseph Jelleff of Butternuts, New York, and Gilbert D. Lowe of Hampfield, Pennsylvania, took out patents for mathematical tables that eased calculations of interest. This instrument is a version of their inventions, probably made after their patents had expired.
- The instrument consists of two overlapping concentric discs held together with a metal pivot at the center and attached to a cardboard cover. It is designed for finding the interest on a principal of up to $5,000 at an interest rate of six percent, for times ranging from one to thirty days and then from two months to twelve months. Amounts of principal ranging from $1 to $5,000 are listed on the top disc, going out from the center. Next to this list is a notch in the disc that reveals the disc below. Printed on the lower disc, also going out from the center, are amounts of interest for a given length of time. Lengths of time are marked around the edge of the top disc. Rotating an index on the lower disc so that it points to the appropriate time turns that disc so that the correct amounts of interest are shown in the notch.
- A mark on the front of the rotating disc reads: PATENT Revolving Interest TABLE. Another mark there reads: Published by C.M.Riley Cincinnati, Ohio. A mark on the inside of the cover reads: Cost [/] $1.00. Another mark there reads: John F. Kern (/) Germantown (/) September 30th 1839. John F. Kern was a shopkeeper in Germantown, Ohio.
- Compare 1980.0588.02.
- L.C. Karpinski, Bibliography of Mathematical Works Printed in America through 1850, New York: Arno Press, 1980, pp. 206-207. This describes Jelleff’s Patent Revolving Interest Table
- Joseph Jelleff, “Circular Interest Table,” U. S. Patent (no number), September 8, 1812. Apparently no copy of the patent survives.
- Gilbert D. Lowe, “Circular or Revolving Interest Table,” August 12, 1815. Apparently no copy of the patent survives.
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- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center