It was on this day in 1617, that the man responsible for this aid to multiplication, Scottish born John Napier died.
"a means of simplifying complex calculations, that remain one of the most important advances in the study and practical application of mathematics."
Napier's Bones were simple numbering rods made of ivory that made it easier to multiply and divided. However, these ivory rods looked like bones and in a superstitious age stories began to appear that Napier was
"in league with the powers of darkness"
In a biography of the mathematician written in 1904, it is suggested that Napier deliberately played upon these beliefs by walking around his property in the evenings, dressed in his nightgown and cap, and holding a chicken blackened with soot. Whether this was true or not many of his servants thought him a warlock spending his days in his book filled study in conversation with the devil.
John Napier suffered from gout, he died at his home of Merchiston Castle. The castle's tower is now part of the facilities of Edinburgh Napier University.