By Benjamin Wardhaugh

ISBN-10: 0199605424

ISBN-13: 9780199605422

Tells the tale of the way traditional humans in eighteenth-century Britain discovered and utilized well known functional arithmetic to weighing and measuring, company, agriculture, surveying, and navigation. the yearly almanac 'Poor Robin'--first released in 1663 and outliving its unique author to final till 1828--supplied the knowledge every body wanted in regards to the coming year's tides, equinoxes, and astronomical occasions. negative Robin Read more...


From the reign of Charles II to the early nineteenth century, a curious Almanac - half 'teach-yourself mathematics', half political satire - promoted using technology in daily life and trades. Read more...

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Example text

The public mood was blackened still further— apparently on purpose—by almanac makers, newspaper writers, and the authors of a small flood of cheap astronomical publications in the weeks before the eclipse (Figure 4 shows the wonderful illustration from one of those pamphlets). When the great day came, though, it all went wrong. The weather was fine, but the predictions were out to such a degree that an eclipse which was supposed to be virtually total produced almost no visible effects at all. Modern calculations suggest that from London about 85 per cent of the sun was covered by the moon, which would have shown up with a pinhole camera but would not have made the world seem noticeably dark.

We do know that he was a true-blue Englishman of his generation—he’d lived through the Civil War and the Interregnum and the only thing he hated more than a Puritan fanatic was a Papist. Throughout his output, he pulled no punches in his promotion of Royalist politics and Anglican conformity. Of the poet John Milton—‘a notorious Traytor’—he wrote that ‘his Memory will always stink’. As ‘Philoprotest’ he produced a Protestant Almanac from 1668 until his death, and anonymously an Episcopal Almanac (against Protestant Dissenters) and a Yea and nay Almanac (against Quakers).

Ships deteriorated, new ones were built slowly, and in the words of Nicholas Rodger, a historian of the British Navy: The Navy Estimates allowed 19s or 20s a man a lunar month for victualling, but the real cost of four weeks’ naval victuals was about 23s, rising to 30s in years of bad harvests, and the number of men actually serving in the 1690s was sometimes as much as 40 per cent higher than that nominally voted. Prisoners of war were invariably, and troops 54 ‘t h e dism a l a n d l ong e x pect e d mor n i ng’ transported overseas often, fed from naval stores without any additional vote to cover them.

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Poor Robin’s prophecies : a curious almanac, and the everyday mathematics of Georgian Britain by Benjamin Wardhaugh

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