Wooden gantry and piece of board of unknown purpos

Benjamin Cheverton

Wooden gantry and piece of board of unknown purpose

This machine, designed and used by Benjamin Cheverton, is of very considerable interest in the history of the mechanical reproduction of sculpture, which subject attracted the interest of a range of notable mechanicians during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries - including James Watt, whose workshop is dominated by the pair of sculpture-copying machines which he constructed. This machine, which owes much to Isaac Hawkins who worked with Cheverton, surpasses Watt's machines, being more able to readily produce pieces 'in the round' and to under-cut, allowing it to manufacture pieces in the round, rather than copying medallions and other relatively two-dimensional pieces. This was due in large part to its novel design, placing both follower and cutter on a rigid yet flexible pivoting pantograph, and with an ingenious flexible drive to ensure that motion was always conveyed to the rotary cutter no matter its position. The machine would most likely have been treadle-operated in a similar way to contemporary lathes, and the rotation of both original and copy by exactly similar amounts was ensured by both being placed on two index-plates engaging with a single central pinion to ensure rotation was in the same direction.


Hand and Machine Tools
Object Number:
bronze (copper, tin alloy), steel (metal) and wrought iron
Shrewsbury, J.B.