300 GBP ( $ 400 US) + postage

A fine (unused?) Victoriam drawing set with a fascinating history c.1850


7 1/2 x 4 x 1 1/2 inches



Country of manufacture

UK and Ireland

Categories: Navigational instruments, Calculating, Drawing Instruments, Scales Weights & Measures, Engineering antiques, Office Antiques


A fine, unused? Victorian drawing/architect’s set in a mahogany case with a leather overlay (possibly as a proficiency award) from the “Owen’s School, Islington. Govenors: The Worshipful Company of Brewers” with crest and motto.

Everything internally is as it should be, without replacements. Pens, pencils, two dividers/compasses, leads holder, brass protractor, boxwood scaling and calculating rule, ebony parallel rule and original key. The corners of the lid are scuffed from storage/wear. A most pleasing set with a fascinating history. Case measures 7 1/2 x 4 x 1 1/2 inches deep.

Dame Alice Wilkes Owens was a milk maid and survived an errant arrow as a child. She felt she had to give something back, and so after her third marriage (first to a brewer) had enough wealth through dowry or fortune (last husband was a judge) to establish an almshouse vested by the Brewers Company in 1609. By 1616 it was a school with a compliment of 30 boys ( today it has boys and girls, of course). Each boy was awarded 5 GBP annually ( a princely sum in the 1600’s, now pin money, but the tradition continues) by the Worshipful Company of Brewers (perhaps the origin of the term “beer money”?) on the last day of summer term. This set was probably an award or “best boy” gift. The school (although not the original) still operates and now hands out “beer money” by grade/level/form/age, the eldest getting their 5 pounds annually, the best boy/girl. double that.

A rare commodity considering only one of these would have been awarded per YEAR to this school.

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CA ScientificaOpticae

Scientifica Opticae

Mark Hacking (Scientifica Opticae Inc.) has been an avid collector/dealer for over 30 years. A former Science teacher, he has an innate love for anything natural or mechanical. Specializing in optical (microscopes, telescopes), surveying, medical, weighing and drawing instruments, he is an active participant of the Scientific Instrument Fair in London. Living in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, with his wife and two children; Mark looks forward to meeting as many fellow collectors as possible, and has a worldwide following on eBay (Sciopti).

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