Jacob Amsler

Born: 16 Nov 1823 in Stalden bei Brugg, Switzerland
Died: 3 Jan 1912 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland

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Jacob Amsler studied at Jena and at Königsberg under Franz Neumann. He completed his studies at Zurich then published on mathematical physics, in particular on magnetism, heat conduction and on the attraction of ellipsoids. In 1854 he became a maker of precision mathematical instruments.

Amsler invented the polar planimeter, a device for measuring areas enclosed by plane curves. It was based on polar coordinates whereas earlier instruments were based on cartesian coordinates. His shop produced 50 000 such instruments during his life.

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JOC/EFR December 1996