Humphry Davy to Faraday   1 July 1816

Monday July 1

Mr Colburn1 the father of the American boy2 who has such extraordinary powers of calculation will explain to you the method his son uses in confidence 3. I wish to ascertain if it can be practically used | H. Davy

Abia Colburn (1768-1824). See Smith (1983), 181-210.
Zerah Colburn (1804-1840). See ibid.
See IEE MS SC 2, CPB, 87-100 (entry for 1 July 1816) for details of Faraday’s examination.


SMITH, Steven B. (1983): The Great Mental Calculators: The Psychology, Methods, and Lives of Calculating Prodigies, Past and Present, New York.

Please cite as “Faraday0065,” in Ɛpsilon: The Michael Faraday Collection accessed on 30 November 2023,