Pantograph in Case by Molteni

Pantograph in Case by Molteni

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This instrument has four black wooden bars. Two are 19 5/8" (50 cm.) long. The other two are 11 1/4" (8 cm.) long. The brass fulcrum joining the two longer bars rests on an ivory wheel. One short bar is attached to each long bar, about half way down its length. The short bars are joined opposite the fulcrum. An iron weight attaches to one of the long bars, a pencil is attached to one of the short bars, and a tracer attaches to a long bar. The position of the weight and the pencil are moved to change the amount of enlargement or reduction. A black thread may be strung between various joints. The instrument fits in a plain wooden case which has a brass handle and metal hinges and fasteners. A mark on the back rim of the case reads: $28.00. An instruction book in French has museum number MA.211531.02.
According to the documentation, this pantograph was designed by L. Blondeau, a geographical draftsman employed by the Bureau des Cartes et Plans of the French Ministry of War. It was manufactured by Molteni & Cie., opticians and manufacturers, which had the address 13 Boulevard St. Denis in Paris. L. Blondeau took out his French patent for a pantograph in 1841, the same year that the firm Molteni & Cie. was established. Molteni & Cie. was at the address 13 Boulevard Saint-Denis in 1844, but by 1854 had moved to another address. Assuming that the instructions were printed at the same time the pantograph was made, this dates the instrument and the instructions to the period 1841-1853.
Compare MA.333850 and MA.314869.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1850
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
wood (overall material)
overall: 11.2 cm x 53.5 cm x 14.6 cm; 4 13/32 in x 21 1/16 in x 5 3/4 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Transfer from Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory
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Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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