Pocket Case of Drawing Instruments

This pocket-sized wooden case is covered with black shagreen, leather made from the skin of a shark or rayfish. On the paper lining the inside of the lid, a previous owner has written: N. O'CONNOR 2/12/1806. Ten drawing instruments were received with the case:
1) A 4-1/2" boxwood plotting scale with diagonal scales at each end. Above the plotting scale are scales divided to 0.12" and to 1/10". The other side has a scale of chords and architect's scales dividing the inch into 35, 30, 25, 20, 15, and 10 parts.
2) A 6" ebony parallel ruler with scalloped brass hinges.
3) A pair of 3-3/4" brass and steel fixed-point dividers.
4) A pair of 6-1/4" brass and steel dividers with a removable point.
5) A brass and steel pen point that fits the 6-1/4" dividers.
6) A pair of 5-14" brass and steel fixed-point dividers.
7) A 3" brass and steel drawing pen with a swiveling handle.
8) A lead pencil.
9) A metal joint tightener and file.
10) A brass gauge, unevenly graduated from 100 to 1,000 and marked "16 FT" on one side and unevenly graduated from 1,000 to 150 and marked "C 8 FT 6 IN" on the other. The first side is also marked: NEWTON & Co 3 FLEET ST NEAR TEMPLE BAR LONDON.
William and Frederick Newton were the partners of Newton & Company, which sold scientific instruments and lantern slides from 3 Fleet Street in London from 1851 until the 1930s, when the firm moved to Wigmore Street. In the 1950s, the company was renamed Newton Photographic Services Ltd. The gauge, joint tightener, and pencil likely date to the mid-19th century. The other instruments are consistent with the 1806 date written on the case.
References: Science Museum Group, "Collections Online – People," http://collectionsonline.nmsi.ac.uk/detail.php?type=related&kv=43411&t=people; Gloria Clifton, Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851 (London: National Maritime Museum, 1995), 200.
Currently not on view
Object Name
drawing instruments, set of
date made
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
steel (overall material)
ebony (overall material)
wood (overall material)
paper (overall material)
leather (overall material)
overall: 2.8 cm x 7 cm x 17.2 cm; 1 3/32 in x 2 3/4 in x 6 25/32 in
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Science & Mathematics
Drafting, Engineering
Drawing Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Drawing Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of C. B. Beyer
Additional Media

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