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George Parker Bidder

George Parker Bidder


George Bidder was born in Moretonhampstead, became famous nationally as a boy prodigy at mental arithmetic, was sent to study mathematics at Edinburgh University, and then entered the Civil Engineering profession just at the time when his skills were valuable in the enormous development of the railway system and the docks. He prospered (and helped his Devon relatives to prosper), bought property at Dartmouth, and eventually retired there.

He is remembered in Devon chiefly as an infant prodigy, and his status as Civil Engineer and successful business man is forgotten.

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George Parker Bidder
On Mental Calculation by George Parker Bidder

George Parker Bidder is one of history's greatest mental calculators. In the early 19th century he toured Britain as a 'calculating boy'. The amazing demonstrations he gave caught the attention of eminent scholars who offered to fund his education. Bidder went on to become one of the leading engineers of his time. His position as vice president of the Institution of Civil Engineers afforded him the opportunity to speak openly about his views on mental calculation in a lecture to fellow members of the institution. That lecture, given in 1856, is the subject of this document. In it, Bidder describes...

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