My late father was a milkman for many years, employed by a local farm near Sittingbourne in Kent …. Here he is lined up on parade with his colleagues – I spent many happy Saturday mornings on his Milk Van
The most important tool of his job was not his trusty milk van, nor his finger-less gloves, nor that sandy brown overall – it was his well thumbed ‘ready reckoner’ . This was a book full of calculations of multiples. It was an amazingly simple concept and ensured that my father was never out of pocket, as he was responsible for making up any shortfalls in payments.
Here is a typical page from a ‘ready reckoner’, and hopefully you can work out how to use it yourself.
In the days of pounds, shillings and pence, this was a vital tool as there were no easy to apply mathematical formulae that could be used to calculate multiples like there is with decimal coinage. My father left school just as he reached his teens so his education was limited – but this book meant that it didn’t matter. It was an early form of a spreadsheet, who needs Excel?
So there you have it – an amazingly useful piece of technology applied to make life easier.
I intend to share a few posts about technology I have encountered in my working life, which started in 1974.