Courtesy of the Science Museum | Licence: CC BY-NC-SA
Courtesy of the Science Museum | Licence: CC BY-NC-SA

George Bidder, the Mental Calculator

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From the Collection


print. engraving, stipple and aquatint, Portrait of George [Parker] Bidder (1806-78), 'George Bidder, the Mental Calculator' /engraved by H. Meyer after W. Waite, published as the Act directs, by W. Waite, Abingdon. August 20th 1817. Portrait, FL in meadow, holding hat and whip; aged 11 years

We are fortunate enough to have some material associated with George Parker Bidder, one of the best-known calculating prodigies of the 19th century. By the age of nine, Bidder was making money by performing calculations locally, so his father began to exhibit him at fairs, and then in major towns such as Bristol, Oxford and Birmingham. He was not educated, but worked out for himself how to perform complicated compound interest problems. The year this portrait was taken he answered questions from Queen Anne.

Additional Makers: William Watkin Waite (artist); Engraved by Henry Hoppner Meyer

More details about this record can be found on the collection website

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Courtesy of the Science Museum

From the Watercolour World


Abingdon-on-Thames, Berkshire, England