Galileo's Glassworks: The Telescope and the Mirror lays out the stories about ancient, more-or-less mythical seeing devices that were confused with the development and capabilities of the telescope. The ancient devices were generally curved mirrors, and may have had some historical basis -- on the Pharos of Alexandria, perhaps. Since, in the late 1500s, rediscovering ancient knowledge seemed more admirable or likely than making new discoveries, people writing about new instruments they didn't understand tended to throw in references to the magical ones.
Benjamin Franklin's Numbers is mostly about the enormous, plicate magic squares Franklin developed. Magic squares don't tickle my fancy, but the ones represented by overlapping multicolored circles are quite the thing.
I did enjoy the first chapter, in which A Calculating People, q.v..defends from the charge of being mathematically untalented. (I hadn't even realized there was such a charge; is not dear Ben our Founding Nerd?) Franklin was an applied mathematician first, e.g. as a founder of demography. eventually cited him in An Essay on the Principle of Population. All the estimation of how fast populations would grow, and what to invest in, fit the early American history laid out in
In a library:So wrote clew in Science.