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Published on Jul 12, 2008
This is a demonstration of square root calculation by the odd numbers subtraction method on the Curta type II mechanical calculator a.k.a. the Fatboy Pepper Grinder. It's a bit fatter than the ordinary version so it can grind larger numbers and/or with greater precision.
The elegance of the odd number method is that no greater thinking is involved - you just follow a basic set of rules. I'm not explaining the rules thoroughly but you can read about them in this document: www.mechrech.info/anleit/GibBru.pdf (not on my server so don't know how long it'll be there - EDIT: NO LONGER THERE: LOOK AT END FOR INFO). Please note that the starting point is different for numbers with even and odd number before the decimal! Also special attention is needed if the number is smaller than one.
Yes, granted, I can do it a lot faster on my Odhner's since I'm used to those. Also they have a bell to tell when result register crosses zero which is also a great help but the Curta doesn't have such a bell. Also well as having a feeling for how fast I can crank the Odhner's without excessive wear. The Curta in contrast is a delicate instrument build almost like a fine clock work.
- - - - - - - - - - EDIT: - - - - - - - - - - The Brunsviga manual with description of how to extract square roots using the odd numbers method appears no longer on the original server. If you want it you can instead drop me a PM with your email and I'd be happy to email it to you.