WROUGHT IRON DIVIDERS / DAGGER, European 17th /18th century. Measuring 13-1/2″ (34 cm) overall, this rather primitive pair of dividers is well constructed, with a five-leaf hinge with pommel knob, twin tapering arms, and double hilt. It has a good “heft” for use as a dagger. Condition is good, apparently all original, noting some pitting to the surface. The application of the hilt to dividers, making them into a significant close range weapon, is well documented. For example, one finds a rather formidable 16th century dagger / divider compendium in the Museo Galileo in Florence, described by Bonelli and Settle.
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David and Yola Coffeen both have enjoyed academic careers, as planetary astronomer and as linguist/educator. But since 1982 (yes, 1982!) they have been full-time dealers in early scientific and medical instruments, under the name Tesseract. Selling primarily by catalogue (over 100 issued so far) they also have a web presence at www.etesseract.com, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.