Stock Number: 8267


For sale, this beautiful, early 18th century hand-engraved silver sector. With multiple scales, and lovely terminal shaping, it sports words beautifully hand engraved with flourishes, and tiny numerals all hand punched.


4 inches (10 cm) closed


c. early 18th century

Country of manufacture


Categories: Scientific, Calculating


EXQUISITE SILVER SECTOR, Continental, possibly Italian, c. early 18th century, bearing a punch mark, and with lovely shaped ends, and roses engraved to the hinge. Overall length is 4″ (10 cm) closed, and the sector is beautifully engraved with doubled sector scales “Arithmetica, Geometrica, Cubica, Gradus Quadrantis.” Additional scales give “demy Pied Roy,” i.e., half the French linear measure of the King’s Foot with subdivisions in inches and twelfths; ‘Reinlendscher. 1/2 Fusz,” i.e., half the Rhineland foot, likewise subdivided; and reminders of the sizes of one-pound cannon balls of iron, and of lead. The words are all beautifully hand engraved with flourishes, and the tiny numerals are all hand punched. Interestingly, the scales and their names are all read with the hinge to the right, rather than to the left as on typical French and English designs. Condition is very fine.

This is a diminutive example of an elegant form occasionally seen in brass; the design, execution, and terminal shaping may be compared with a Dutch sector by Metz (Tesseract Catalogue 46 Item 45) and with a c. 1700 Continental sector (Catalogue 71 Item 36). The only example we have seen in silver.

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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 [email protected].

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