A book of numbers

Nick Shinn's picture


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Theunis de Jong's picture

Did you know these numbers were calculated by computers? That is, a person with the occupation of "computer". More likely -- a roomfull of persons...
Math skills were not necessary, at its basic level it was all done by simple additions and subtractions. Back at the end of the 19th century, they calculated π to a hundred digits (they made an error halfway through, tho').

russellm's picture

(they made an error halfway through, tho’).
Dang! I'd hate to be the guy who goofed up on that one!

curious about the kerning of the 7 & 4. In a book of numbers the likelihood of 7 & 4 being next to each other and in that order is quite high.

-=®=-

Theunis de Jong's picture

No kerning there. These are oldstyle ("medieval") numbers, tabular form. Kerning would mess up the tabular form, needed because you want to scan columns downward as fast and precise as possible.

blank's picture

Ouch—not a fun day to be a compositor.

Of course, if I had to do it today things would be worse, because after I got 90% done someone from editing would tell me that the copy had never been proofed, half the numbers were wrong, and they all needed changing.

russellm's picture

@ theunis, Kerning would mess up the tabular form,

I get that, but the 7 & 4 combo does leave big hole in the page.

@ James, .... and they all needed changing..

... "HOLD THE PRESSES! HOLD THE PRESSES!!! This just in! We gotta tear out the whole section on square roots."

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