Instruments of statecraft: Humphrey Cole, Elizabethan economic policy and the rise of practical mathematics.
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Jardine, B. (2018). Instruments of statecraft: Humphrey Cole, Elizabethan economic policy and the rise of practical mathematics.. Ann Sci, 75 (4), 304-329. https://doi.org/10.1080/00033790.2018.1528510
This paper offers a re-interpretation of the development of practical mathematics in Elizabethan England, placing artisanal know-how and the materials of the discipline at the heart of analysis, and bringing attention to Tudor economic policy by way of historical context. A major new source for the early instrument trade is presented: a manuscript volume of Chancery Court documents c.1565-c.1603, containing details of a patent granting a monopoly on making and selling mathematical instruments, circa 1575, to an unnamed individual, identified here as the instrument maker Humphrey Cole. Drawing on economic and legal history, the paper argues that practical mathematics needs to be understood as one 'project' among many, at a time when monopoly patents were used to advance industry, lower unemployment, secure the realm and reward invention. Drawing on the history and sociology of technology, it argues that the management and control of materials - mathematical instruments themselves, and the local socio-legal context within which they could be made - needs to be understood as prior to and separate from the rhetoric of mathematical authors, which is of interest in its own right but which may not have a direct relationship to mathematical practice.
Mathematics, Economics, History, 16th Century, England, Patents as Topic
Isaac Newton Trust (1508(j))
Leverhulme Trust (ECF-2015-047)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00033790.2018.1528510
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/287913