Meet a Mathematical Inventor!

This is Jaen-Antoine Lafay’s Hélice a Calcul, a rather unusual logarithmic slide rule. But Lafay himself, its inventor, was just as unusual, not to say quirky… a fascinating lone innovator waging war on an indifferent world.

Lafay's Hélice a Calcul

To illustrate, here is a section from Lafay’s marketing brochure:

Oh, routine! What wrong do you not do, firstly to your devotees who, to avoid a little effort of adapting to innovative tools and processes, which would render them remarkable service, are unwilling to budge from their old deplorable habits,… and then to these poor Don Quixotes who, in believing they might overcome them, only bruise themselves against your incredible force of inertia? And yet, poor fool that I am, with the present brochure I resume a battle that I should have abandoned, moved again by the illusion that I may end up victorious.

See what I mean? And yet, he was an innovative entrepreneur, and you may enjoy the new article I devote to him on my History of Computing exhibition.

Enjoy!

 

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