Book, Seven-Place Values of Trigonometric Functions for Every Thousandth of a Degree

Book, Seven-Place Values of Trigonometric Functions for Every Thousandth of a Degree

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In the early twentieth century, calculating machines began to replace logarithms as a common tool of those doing computations. Rather than adding and subtracting logarithms of functions to multiply and divide, people entered values of the functions themselves into machines. This encouraged the production and sale of new books of mathematical tables. Some of these were compiled by Johann Theodor Peters (1869-1941) of the astronomical computing institute in Berlin. In 1918, Peters published Siebenstellige Werte der trigonometrischen Funktionen von Tausendstel zu Tausendstel des Grades. It would be reprinted in German in 1930 and 1938. This is the 1942 English edition of the book.
The volume contains values of trigonometric functions for every thousandth of a degree, to seven places. The first table give sines and cosines, the second tangents and cotangents. Information in the margins assists in interpolating between values in the tables, and the introduction describes how to do this.
According to the title page, the volume was “published and distributed in the public interest by authority of the alien property custodian under license #A1.” The Alien Property Custodian was an official of the United States Government responsible for assets of enemy powers seized during World War I and again during World War II. This included the copyright to the trigonometric tables of Peters.
This example of the publication is from the library of the donor, computer pioneer Carl Hammer.
R.C. Archibald, Mathematical Table Makers, New York: Scripta Mathematica, 1948, pp. 68-71.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Peters, Johann Theodor
place made
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 2.5 cm x 18.4 cm x 24.4 cm; 31/32 in x 7 1/4 in x 9 19/32 in
ID Number
nonaccession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Carl Hammer
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Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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