ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Short Rectangular Multiplication

Updated on November 8, 2009

Grandma Knows Best

I had a bit of an unusual childhood, I spent a lot of time at my grandmother's house, which was in a very rural part of New Hampshire. Since there wasn't a lot to do, and because my grandmother was a schoolteacher in a one-room schoolhouse, I spend a lot of time learning things. Due to the lack of other activities my grandmother had taught me to read and write and do basic arithmetic by the time I was three years old.(And to think, if we only had TV at the time)

I always found my grandmother's house exciting, because she would have all of these interesting books lying around. There was a big thing at the time called programmed learning, and I loved thumbing through those books and picking up what I could.

What I find most intriguing, however, were the things my grandmother taught me that you just don't learn in school anymore. One of these things was short rectangular multiplication. Now realize that this is what I called it because of the way it was done, this may not be the technical term for it. It does however, seem to be a lost technology, that was once caught in a one-room schoolhouse and only occasionally shows up these days as a math trick, with no apparent use.

What is it and How is it Done

Now the lost technique is a great way to multiply eight or nine digit numbers by hand. These days anybody who multiplied eight or nine digit numbers by hand would be considered insane. While this number would probably be too big to be displayed on an inexpensive calculator, if somebody had to multiply the numbers, they would find a way and it probably wouldn't be to do it manually. I sometimes actually enjoy doing large problems with this technique, but it's just a challenge to see if I'm focused. To describe how it's done would be very awkward, so I have some videos that I made for a website I started to build called How to Math Videos, and these will probably show it far better than I could explain in writing. The actual website never really got off the ground because in my attempt at saving money, I choose the only Web host that was incapable of uploading videos, but that's another story.

Short Rectangular Multiplication Demonstrated

In Closing

Now with the advent of calculators, this technique is pretty obsolete. But the point is that there are lots of interesting things that have been taught in the past, that are virtually unknown today. My grandmother taught me a lot of these, but just think of the incredible amount of knowledge that has been known in the past, but isn't remembered today. Much of it might be obsolete, like short rectangular multiplication, but some of it could possibly have a great impact on the world today, if it was only known. So I'd like to say, just because something has been long forgotten, doesn't mean that it is useless. If you absolutely had to multiply two ten digit numbers together, and you couldn't find a calculator anywhere, you might be glad that you knew short rectangular multiplication.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • GreenMathDr profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Yes, I know math is not for everyone. Actually I actually loved Science as a child and only got into math out of necessity.

    • mega1 profile image


      9 years ago

      I've never really loved math, and now I know why! Just kidding. Neat.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)