In its scope and subject matter, Erwin Tomash’s collection is unlike any other to have been offered at auction. The library represents a lifetime’s fascination with the development across the ages of the modern-day computer, including calculation, astronomy, navigation, mensuration and related subjects. It ranges from medieval and renaissance works on arithmetic, finger-reckoning and the abacus, to the birth in the twentieth century of theoretical and practical computer science under Alan Turing. On the way, it encompasses major breakthroughs in the measurement of space and time by Apianus, Galileo, Kepler and others, the development of complex logarithmic, volumetric and trigonometrical calculations, and early and later scientific instruments such as sectors, slide-rules, astrolabes and quadrants, including Napier’s bones and Babbage’s famous difference engine.
The auction, taking place over two days, will be the inaugural sale in our new purpose-built gallery in the Aeolian Hall, Bloomfield Place.