French-Style Sector Signed by Butterfield

The arms of this small brass instrument have straight ends. One side has a double scale of chords that runs from 10 to 90. The outer edge on one arm has a scale that runs from 4 to 24 and is labeled poids des boulets. The inner edge of both arms has a double scale for the specific weights of four metals, marked with their symbols. The sector is marked: Butterfield (/) AParis. The hinge is decorated with a flower.
On the other side, the outer edge of one arm has a scale that runs from 4 to 24 and is labeled Calibre des pieces. Both arms have double scales of equal parts, running from 10 to 120, and for inscribed regular polygons, from 12 sides to three sides. Compare to MA*321677 and 1985.0580.04.
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; Adler Planetarium, Webster Signature Database,; Henri Michel, Scientific Instruments in Art and History, trans. R. E. W. Maddison and Francis R. Maddison (Barrie and Rockliff, 1967), 206.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1700
Butterfield, Michael
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
overall: .3 cm x 10.6 cm x 2.5 cm; 1/8 in x 4 3/16 in x 31/32 in
place made
France: Île-de-France, Paris
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Science & Mathematics
Rule, Calculating
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

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