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