French-Style Sector Signed by Butterfield

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This brass instrument has rectangular arms hinged at one end. The hinge is decorated with a flower on both sides. One side has double scales of chords, running from 10 to 140; of solids, running from 10 to 60; and for the specific weights of four metals, marked with their symbols. The outer edge of one arm has a scale that runs from 4 to 24 and is labeled poids des boulets. The sector is marked: Butterfield (/) AParis.
The other side has a double scale of equal parts that runs from 10 to 200; an unlabeled double scale that runs from 10 to 60 and is presumably for making architectural drawings; and a double scale for inscribed regular polygons, from 12 sides to three sides. The outer edge of one arm has a scale for Calibre des pices [sic] that runs from 4 to 24. Compare to MA.321676 and MA.321677.
Michael Butterfield (1635–1724) was an English instrument maker who worked in France from around 1677 until his death. He was best known for his distinctive sundials.
References: Maya Hambly, Drawing Instruments, 1580–1980 (London: Sotheby's Publications, 1988), 24, 134–135; Harriet Wynter and Anthony Turner, Scientific Instruments (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1975), 113.
Currently not on view
date made
Butterfield, Michael
place made
France: Île-de-France, Paris
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
overall: .4 cm x 17.2 cm x 3 cm; 5/32 in x 6 25/32 in x 1 3/16 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Albert Haertlein
Rule, Calculating
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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