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A New Logical Machine.

[Reprinted from the Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. XXI.]

Boston: The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1886 Stock Code: 100212
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An early work on computing machines

Original offprint of Allan Marquand's presentation of his new logical machine to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in November, 1885. A student of Charles Sanders Peirce, Marquand (1853-1924) graduated from Princeton in 1874 and obtained his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1880 from Johns Hopkins University, returning to Princeton in 1881 to teach Latin and Logic.

Inspired by the work of W. S. Jevons, during the year 1881 Marquand designed and"constructed a logical machine somewhat similar to the well-known machine of Prof. Jevons, and printed logical diagrams for problems involving as many as ten terms. This earlier instrument and the logical diagrams formed the basis of the machine illustrated on the accompanying plate. The new machine was constructed in Princeton during the winter of 1881-82 by my friend Prof. C. G. Rockwood, Jr., whose mechanical skill and untiring patience gave me invaluable assistance... Like the instrument of Prof. Jevons, and that of Prof. Venn, it is constructed for problems involving only four terms, but more readily than either of those instruments admits of being extended for problems involving a larger number of terms."

Martin Gardner, in his work Logic Machines and Diagrams, noted the following:

"The machine is a decided improvement over Jevons's. By abandoning the clumsy equational form which Jevons used, Marquand was able to cut down the number of keys to less than half of the 21 keys required on Jevons's model. In addition, the number of steps for feeding each premise to the machine is enormously reduced. A third advantage is that the simplified interior mechanism makes it possible to construct similar machines for more than four terms without enlarging the device to giant, unwieldy proportions. Charles Peirce, in an article on "Logical Machines" (American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 1, November 1887, p. 165), summarizes these advantages in the following interesting and characteristic manner: Mr. Marquand's machine is a vastly more clear-headed contrivance than that of Jevons. The nature of the problem has been grasped in a more masterly manner, and the directest possible means are chosen for the solution of it. In the machines actually constructed only four letters have been used, though there would have been no inconvenience in embracing six. Instead of using the cumbrous equations of Jevons, Mr. Marquand uses Professor Mitchell's method throughout. There are virtually no keys except the eight for the letters and their negatives, for two keys used in the process of erasing, etc., should not count. Any number of keys may be put down together, in which case the corresponding letters are added, or they may be put down successively, in which case the corresponding combinations are multiplied. There is a sort of diagram face, showing the combinations or logical products as in Jevons's machine, but with the very important difference that the two dimensions of the plane are taken advantage of to arrange the combinations in such a way that the substance of the result is instantly seen. To work a simple syllogism, two pressures of the keys only are necessary, two keys being pressed each time. A cord has also to be pulled each time so as to actualize the statement which the pressure of the keys only formulates. This is good logic: philosophers are too apt to forget this cord to be pulled, this element of brute force in existence, and thus to regard the solvet ambulando as illogical. To work the syllogism with Mr. Jevons's machine requires ten successive movements, owing to the relatively clumsy manner in which the problem has been conceived."

A rare early work on logical machines, precursor to the modern computer.

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Octavo (242 x157 mm), pp. 303-307 + 3 blank pages. Sewn as issued in printed stiff paper wrappers.


Plate with 2 photographic images of the logical machine.


Wrappers split along spine with a couple of tiny chips. Internally in excellent condition. From the library of Wolfe Mays, professor of philosophy at the University of Manchester.


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