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Napier’s calculating machines

Ábaco neperiano Pulse para ampliar

Precious woods, ivory, brassSalto de línea 17th centurySalto de línea

This case with doors and 30 drawers contains the rods and strips of two calculating machines invented by the Scottish mathematician John Napier. The machine known as “Napier’s bones”, comprising 60 numbered rods, was the most popular calculating device in the Early Modern Era. The second machine is a promptuary and consists of nearly 300 flat rods and strips, all with numbers and perforations. It was used for performing fast multiplications.


Here you can find information about objects related to the two ruling dynasties of this period, the Habsburgs and the Bourbons. The items on display reflect political and social transformations, technical and scientific advances, and the creation of new political spaces and trading arenas in Europe and America. All of these changes occurred between the 16th and 19th centuries, during the Renaissance, Baroque, Enlightenment and the early days of liberalism.

Miniatura Carlos III Borbones