This colonial era unsigned Semi-Circumferentor is one of the more common varieties – trough compass, brass semi-circle, brass alidade and sight vanes, and a wood block. The engraved compass card is another story, however. Wow. Semi-Circumferentors made largely out of wood were supposed to be a fairly cheap way for a surveyor to buy an instrument that could measure independently of the needle. So why would an affordable instrument have such a wonderfully engraved compass card???
I came across a fair number of pre-1825 Semi-Circumferentors during my research for my Theodolite and Semi-Circumferentor website addition, and the Semi-Circumferentor offered here is the only one to have an elaborately engraved compass card.
If you look closely at the engraving, there appears to be an “M” engraved. I can also make out a much smaller “L” if I squint hard enough. These are probably just random scratches. But there is an “L. M.” who would be capable of this level of engraving – Lewis Michael. I can’t think of a single reason why Lewis Michael would make this instrument, however. And he never advertised Semicircles for sale in his newspapers ad. So I view this as an unsigned but VERY cool Semi-Circumferentor, broken glass notwithstanding.
To see my webpage offering this neat Semi-Circumferentor for sale, please go to: Colonial Semi-Circumferentor.
Ask the Dealer
The Compleat Surveyor specializes in rare instruments and books related to land surveying. This initially was a family business - my father (F. D. Uzes) was a noted surveyor, collector and author (Illustrated Price Guide To Antique Surveying Instruments and Books - published in 1980). Having spent a lifetime surrounded by old instruments and books, I now run the business myself. I use my website (www.CompleatSurveyor.com) to both sell instruments and provide historical information related to land surveying.
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