A brass beam compass by Hermann, Fortin’s son-in-law, circa 1800-1820

A brass beam compass by Hermann, Fortin’s son-in-law, circa 1800-1820



circa 1800

Country of manufacture


Categories: Scientific, Technology, Drawing Instruments, Surveying Instruments & Mining, Other Technology Antiques


An early French technical/mechanical dividers or beam compass made in brass and signed “Hermann gen[d]re de Fortin, à Paris”, complete and its original traveling case.

Hermann is the son-in-law of Nicolas Fortin who was active in Paris from 1780 to 1831. We know that one of the Fortin’s daughter worked with him, Louise. Hermann is certainly the husband of Louise, so the son-in-law of Nicolas Fortin. Hermann was active during the Fortin lifetime as suggests the signature.

This instrument divided in old French inches and not in centimeters, is datable around 1800 to 1820 during the transisitionnal time between the two measures. 


The compass measures 51 cm lenght divided in 1 to 18 inches. it has a micrometric rack and pinion. It is complete is its accessories and different points : ink point, penholder and a simple point.

The only defect is that a little screw of the rack and pinion is lacking but the instrument is in perfect working order.

A rare early signed mechanical beam compass. This Hermann’s signature is unknow from Marcellin and Daumas.

The wooden case measures 55x7x5 cm

Ask the Dealer

Item enquiry

To enquire about this item, complete the form bellow to send a message to the Dealer

Enter Email
Confirm Email

Dealer information

FR Le Zograscope

Established by Alexandre Piffault in 2014 and based in Paris at 5 rue de Condé, 75006, very close to Odéon, Le Zograscope specializes in antique and rare books in Science, Medicine and Technology, and rare antique instruments in the same fields. We have especially a strong interest in early and continental microscopy, early and special mathematical/drawing instruments, medical and surgical instrument, and rare technology.

Payment methods
Terms & conditions