PHYSICS, CHEMISTRY AND MATHEMATICS.
BABBAGE, Charles. Table of the logarithms of the natural numbers from 1 to 108000. Printed by William Clowes and Sons. 1841.
8vo. Sometime bound in full brown calf, blind fillets to sides, spine with gilt rules and black morocco label with gilt lettering, edges with unusual striped colouring; pp. xx + 202; boards with dampstaining, wear to top of spine, very good. Provenance: with bookplate to front pastedown of William Barwick Hodge, an actuary who laid down the rules for innumerable insurance policies to come with his article 'On the Mortality arising from Military Operations' (The Assurance Magazine, and Journal of the Institute of Actuaries, 1 July 1857). In this, he was following on from Babbage himself, who wrote Comparative View of the Various Institutions for the Assurance of Lives in 1826 having bought the actuarial tables of George Barrett.
Fourth edition. "Babbage designed his Difference Engine no. I to mechanize production of mathematical tables such as these. However, when Babbage undertook the production of these tables in 1826 he had only a small model of the machine. Babbage did not have a working portion of the Difference Engine no. 1 until 1832, and even that was insufficient to compute mathematical tables. Because of his inability to mechanize table production Babbage did not attempt to compute new tables. Instead, to assure the greatest accuracy possible, the proofs of these tables were checked a total of nine times against the tables of Callet, Hutton, Vega, Briggs, Gardiner, and Taylor, with the result that only nine errors were found in the first edition. These were corrected in the second edition of 1831, and no further errors were found in the tables in any of the later editions. To insure maximum legibility and ease of use, Babbage gave careful consideration to the tables’ typography, printing several test sheets on different colors of paper to discover which was least fatiguing to the eye" (Hook & Norman, The Origins of Cyberspace 50 on the 1834 edition).