Patent Model for Hosley Ship's Model Measurer, 1851

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This patent model accompanied Abijah S. Hosley’s patent application for a caliper to measure ship models that received patent number 8,307 on August 19, 1851. Vessel construction in the nineteenth century started with wooden models. Built to disassemble into pieces, the carefully shaped models would be taken apart and measured, and the measurements would be used to create full-sized patterns for fabricating the vessel's components. If drawings were created at all, they too were based on measurements from models. Hosley claimed his caliper provided greater accuracy, greater speed, and greater ease of use than ordinary measuring devices.
The ebony and brass model is comprised of two wooden posts attached to form an L. A curved handle projects from the top of the main post. A measuring arm slides along the bottom, its ivory scale and brass straight- edge rest. A second, curved measuring arm, now missing, once slid perpendicular to the secondary post; its headstock is still attached to the threaded rod that once adjusted its position. The secondary post's ivory scale is also missing. Two thumb screws at one end of the device control the measuring arms.
Currently not on view
date made
patent date
Hosley, Abijah S.
Hosley, Abijah S.
associated place
United States: New York, New York
Physical Description
ivory (scale material)
brass (straight-edge material)
ebony (post material)
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
patent number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
America on the Move
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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