Historical information

This book was written by C. Frusher Howard in 1874 and this copy is the 1892 edition. C. Frusher Howard was the alias of Joseph Ostler (‘Frusher’ was his mother’s maiden name) and he was the first district secretary of the Moorabbin Roads Board. He absconded with its funds in 1867. After some time in the goldfields of U.S.A. and a bigamous marriage he published ‘The Art of Reckoning’ which was highly successful in Britain and U.S.A. He was able to pay back the money he had embezzled. He advertised that he was a Fellow of the Society of Science, Letters and Art, London, but this was a profit-making society owned by an individual and enabled members to wear academic dress and use the title of ‘Professor’. Ostler had in reality no academic qualifications. In the early 1890s he lectured on his ideas on mathematical calculation and publicized his four books in India, Egypt, Palestine and South Africa. In 1896 he returned to Australia and at the 1896-7 Warrnambool Industrial and Art Exhibition Howard gave daily lectures on mathematical calculations and illustrated these with the aid of a blackboard.


The inscription in this book does not appear to have any local significance but the book is of interest because the author, C. Frusher Howard, was a lecturer at the Warrnambool Industrial and Art Exhibition of 1896-7.

Physical description

This is a soft cover book of 142 pages. There are several pages at the back of the book advertising other books published by Cassell and Company. The cover is brown with an ornate border on the front cover and black printing on the front cover, spine and back cover. The lettering on the spine has been mostly worn away. The first page has a black and white sketch of the author, C. Frusher Howard, in academic dress. The inscription is handwritten in black ink.

Inscriptions & markings

‘C.F. Hamilton, South Heathcote, 1893’