Stock Number: 9166


For sale large antique all brass parallel rule by the early instrument maker Jeremiah Watkins, who worked under his own name 1798-1810. This is an important navigation tool in good condition.


12 inches (30 cm) wide


c. 1800

Country of manufacture

UK and Ireland

Categories: Maritime, Navigational instruments


LARGE ELEGANT PARALLEL RULE, English, c. 1800, hand-engraved on the reverse “J. Watkins, Charing Crofs, London.” This all brass rule is 12″ (30 cm) wide, constructed with a massive scissor hinge elegantly shaped and pierced, designed with opposing slots which provide an offsetting parallel motion as the rule is opened. There are two small knobs for grasping, and both outer edges are beveled for precision in course marking and chart reading. Condition is good noting some stains and darkening, and minor nicks.

This is a fine example of an important tool of the early navigator. Jeremiah Watkins was a successor to the well-known Francis Watkins, and is recorded as working under his own name 1798 – 1810. He in turn was followed by Watkins & Hill, who were succeeded in the mid-19th century by Elliott Brothers, and then by English Electric in 1966. Jeremiah was thus an important early link in the two-century history of this succession of quality, innovative instrument manufacturies. 

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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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