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The Preludin Calculator, for determining height-weight ratio, United Kingdom, 1955-1965

A person’s height to weight ratio in accordance with sex and age was determined using this calculator. It was simple but effective. The calculator was used in large scale health studies. Two interlocking circular tubes adjust to line up age, weight and height in small cutaway windows. The calculator indicated how overweight the subject was by aligning these variables. The Preludin Calculator is the forerunner to today’s body mass index (BMI) charts. This simple grid assesses your ideal weight. It is not fool-proof. The Preludin Calculator and the BMI charts put many athletes in the obese category because muscle weighs more than fat.

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Glossary: anthropometry

The measuring of body parts so that comparisons can be made. The aim is to measure normal and abnormal development. In the past, it has also been used in attempts to measure racial difference.

Glossary: calculator

Small electronic or mechanical device that performs calculations, requiring manual action for each individual operation.