Berlin, Papen, 1710.
4to. Very nice contemporary full calf with five raised bands to richly gilt spine. All edges of boards gilt. A bit of wear to extremities, corners bumped, and capitals professionally restored. Occasional light brownspotting, and printing weak on some leaves (including the text for the Leibnitz-paper). Overall in very nice condition. Pp. 317-19 + folded engraved plate (bound with the plates at the back of the volume - Fig. 73 - in excellent condition). [Entire volume: (22), 394 pp, 1 blank + 31 folded, engraved plates [+ Ruysch: (4), 32, (2) + 2 engraved plates + 18 pp.] ]. The frontispiece is not present.
Scarce first edition of this milestone in computing history, namely Leibnitz' description of his groundbreaking calculating machine, including his stepped-drum gear, which constitutes one of the greatest advances in the early history of computing. This paper became extremely influential in the development of the calculating machine, and the stepped-drum that Leibnitz here presents constituted "the greatest advance in calculating-machine technology until 1875." (Hook & Norman).
"(1673-74): Leibnitz creates a drawing of his calculating machine mechanism. Using stepped drum, this calculator mechanizes multiplication as well as addition by performing repetitive additions. In 1674 Leibnitz hires a Parisian clockmaker to build one copy of his machine. This copy is eventually lost until 1879, when it is found in an attic at Göttingen University. However, because of descriptions published from 1710 onward, is well-enough known to have great influence. The stepped-drum gear is the only workable solution to calculating machine problems until ab. 1875." (Hook & Normn, Origins of Cyberspace).
The machine that Leibnitz presents in the present paper is the first machine to be able to do not only addition and subtraction fully automatically, but also multiplication and division. As such, it completely revolutionized the history of calculation and computing and dominated calculator design for the next two centuries.
Erwin Tomasch: L69