Multiplication Instrument by Samuel Morland
In 1664, baronet Sir Samuel Morland (1625-1695) presented a calculating instrument for multiplication. Morland, an inventor, diplomat, politician, mathematician and spy, knew how to market his inventions concerning the mechanization of calculating. Therefore, his multiplication instrument – that he had the famous English instrument makers Henri Sutton and Samuel Knibb build – was dedicated to Cosimo III de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, in 1679. An original instrument can be found in Museo Galileo in Florence, among others.
Claas Dabrock and Daniel Berthold produced a 3D animation of the replica from the Arithmeum collection as a work project in the course of their studies of computer science.
Morland’s multiplication instrument is a good example for the fact that when the very first calculating instruments were developed, the design was often essential, even when practicality might have been not up to scratch yet.