EARLY CONTINENTAL PANTOGRAPH, c. early 18th century
Stock Number: 10252
For sale, a particularly early, diminutive pantograph in its portable case
the case 10-5/8 inches (27 cm) long overall
c. early 18th century
Country of manufacture
EARLY CONTINENTAL PANTOGRAPH, c. early 18th century. This diminutive drafting instrument is contained in its original finely shaped and fitted wood case bound in dark leather with gilt-stamped decoration to the lid, the interior lined with red chamois leather, the case 10-5/8″ (27 cm) long overall. The brass pantograph is substantially built, designed with opposed hinged “V” shapes which join in widely-adjustable integral positions (*, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8) on each of the four arms. The larger “V” has one polished steel foot (which rests at a fixed point established by a hole in the fitting which screws into the wood of a drafting table), a brass foot which slides on the table, and a sharp tracer point to follow a drawing or chart. The smaller “V” rides along, with a pencil holder at its apex, making a reduced or enlarged copy. The brass nuts and thumb pins are all crafted in lovely early decorative shapes. Condition is very fine and complete noting minor stains to the brass and some wear to the case.
Hambly traces the origin of the pantograph to a wood parallelogram design giving a 1:2 reduction, as published by Christoph Scheiner in 1631. Later versions with adjustable intersections gave a choice of alternative reduction ratios. By the mid-18th century the pantograph became very popular in England, especially in brass, and was produced by all the major instrument makers. It was less common in France, although high quality ones with arms of ebony are encountered. Here we have a very rare and probably very early example from the Continent.
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.
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