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.
- Printed tables have long offered bankers, businesspeople, and customers a way to calculate interest. This example consists of two interest tables, printed on paper, arranged radially and pasted to the two sides of a pine disc. A slotted piece pivoted at the center of the disc rotates, so that one can select the appropriate column of the tables. The first table gives the interest on sums ranging from 2 cents to $1,000 at a rate of 6 percent, for periods of from 1 to 7 days, 1 to 11 months, and 1 year. The second table gives the total value of an amount compounded at 6% annually for periods of 1 to 6 years.
- A mark on the front and the back reads: Entered according to act of Congress, in the Year 1845, by Wm. B. LEAVITT, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of New Hampshire. A mark on the front reads: Stereotyped by Morrill, Silsby & Co.
- William B Leavitt is probably the astronomer and almanac author William B. Leavitt (1812–1895) of North Grantham, New Hampshire. He studied with his uncle, Dudley Leavitt, and took over Dudley’s popular almanac when he died in 1851. William B. Leavitt carried out the calculations for Leavitt’s Almanac until his own death.
- “Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Merrimack and Sullivan Counties, New Hampshire,” Biographical Review vol. 22, Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1897, p. 475.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- ca 1845
- Leavitt, William B.
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center