I Call Them Reckoning Books

Mixed Lot Dating From 1849 to 1943

Chit chatting with Marica over the weekend we briefly touched on some of the odd books we like to find. With Marica it’s old Stat Books. You’ll have to ask her about that.

Me? I’m fascinated with what I call reckoning books. Just imagine compiling such a book with out the aid of a computer. And, what useful tools they must have been to the working man. I envision a Dickens type character with his dip pen and ink well carefully and diligently putting numbers to paper. How useful it would be to have one of these books at hand.

The Complete Ready Reckoner for the Merchant, Tradesman and Agricultuist

This old book from1849 is in sad condition with no cover and loose pages. But, still fun. Full of important information such as Table of Income, Principal of Stamp Duties and the always handy table to Ascertain the Quantity of Hay in Stacks.

The 1905 Osborn’s Tables appears to be an important reference for bridge engineers.

The 1888 Julian’s Interest Book is 128 pages of interest calculations from $1 to $10,000.

Here’s one for Marica. 1934 Mathematical Tables from Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. It’s all Greek to me.

The little Green book is undated, printed in Switzerland. Formulae and Tables. Not really sure what it’s all about. I’m thinking electrical and the like

Most fun has to be the little red leather undated book from London. There’s really no title. It’s Horse Betting Odds and Payoffs. But, more interesting is it contains information on the house rules for betting, lists of Main British Airports, how to write letters, how to address members of royalty, points of law, income tax info, Wills, how to order meals and wine. What an odd little book.

So, there you go. Probably more than you wanted to know about the amazing reckoning books.

3 thoughts on “I Call Them Reckoning Books”

  1. I love these, too, and have a bunch of them. As with the scribes, a lot of the information was probably copied from one to another, but someone had to do the initial calculations and verify the results. Time consuming. But think how much more nimble these guys’ brains were compared to those who punch a button on a phone.

    1. Nimble. Perfect word choice. Brings to mind today’s cashier who hands you your change as a pile of uncounted bills. I oft wonder if they are held accountable for their tills when they don’t balance.

      1. Believe it or not, there are still a few folks around here who know how to properly count back change. They are far and away out numbered by those who look at you funny when you give them 2 dollar bills plus 2 pennies when you’re buying something for $1.27, but they exist!

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