Oliver Byrne was an Irish author and mathematician, c1815 - c1885. Little is known about his life, though he wrote a considerable number of useful books.

His most significant book is The first six books of the elements of Euclid : in which coloured diagrams and symbols are used instead of letters for the greater ease of learners This edition of Euclid's Elements differed from all previous editions in that it used shapes and symbols in various colors to explain the propositions instead of words. This new method of visual communication was not appreciated at the time, but was seen as a curiosity.(1) In Envisioning Information Edward R. Tufte presents this edition of Euclid in a different light. For Tufte, "Byrne's design clarifies the overly indirect and complicated Euclid, at least for certain readers."(2) Tufte's reference to Byrne's Euclid caused a renewed interest in the book. It communicates the very visual nature of Euclid in a way unlike any other edition. Unfortunately, it has also caused the price of this edition to skyrocket, with copies now fetching upwards of $5000.

A website, www.sjca.edu/~cbp/contents.html, has the full contents of the book. Ack. They took it down. But I have the contents, ask me.

Oliver Byrne's other books include:
A Short Practical Treatise on Spherical Trigonometry, 1835
How to Measure the Earth with the Assistance of Railroads, 1838
New and Improved System of Logarithms, 1838
The Creed of Saint Athanasius proved by a Mathematical Parallel, 1839
The practical, complete and correct gager, 1840
The doctrine of proportion clearly developed, 1841
The Fallacies of Our Own Time, 1844
Description and Use of the Byrnegraph, 1846
The first six books of the elements of Euclid : in which coloured diagrams and symbols are used instead of letters for the greater ease of learners, 1847
The Calcus of Form, 1848
The miscellaneous mathematical papers of Oliver Byrne, 1848
Practical, short, and direct method of calculating the logarithm of any given number and the number corresponding to any given logarithm, 1849
A dictionary of machines, mechanics, engine-work, and engineering, 1850
The First Fifty Lessons on Military Art and Science, 1850
The pocket companion for machinists, mechanics, and engineers
The practical cotton spinner and manufacturer, 1851
The Practical Metal-Worker's Assistant, 1851
The practical model calculator, 1851
The American engineer, draftsman, & machinist's assistant, 1853
Freedom to Ireland. The art and science of war for the people, 1853
The handbook for the artisan, mechanic and engineer, 1853
Lectures on the Art and Science of War, 1853
Mechanics : their principles and practical applications, 1853
The calculator's constant companion, 1854
The Mechanics' Manual, 1856
Pocket-Book for Railroad and Civil Engineers, 1856
Dual arithmetic : a new art, 1863
The Young Geometrician, 1865
The essential elements of practical mechanics, 1867
The essential elements of practical mechanics based on the principle of work, 1872
Byrne's treatise on navigation and nautical astronomy, 1875
The Geometry of compasses, 1877
Byrne's timber and log book, 1878.

1. Florian, History of Mathematical Notations, 1928 v1, p429
2. Tufte, Envisioning Information, , 1990, p85

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