Circular instrument dividing engine.

Made:
1778 in Fleet Street
maker:
John Troughton

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Circular instrument dividing engine made by John Troughton, London, England in 1778. The Cast brass, 46 1/4-inch dividing plate, with twelve spokes and 2160 teeth is supported on a heavy wooden frame and tripod table stand (foot treadle missing). It is similar to the first successful dividing engine which was completed by Jesse Ramsden in about 1775.

Completed by John Troughton (c 1739-1807), this is similar to the first successful dividing engine which was completed in about 1775 by Jesse Ramsden (1735- 1800). Until the 1770s, scales on scientific instruments had been marked out by skilled craftsmen in a process called 'dividing', this was partly mechanized from the 1770s when dividing engines were introduced. Originally used on small instruments, by the 1850s they were used to graduate scales on large astronomical telescopes, making hand-dividing obsolete.

Details

Category:
Industrial Metrology
Object Number:
1932-22
Materials:
brass (copper, zinc alloy), mahogany (wood) and steel (metal)
type:
circular dividing engine
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • dividing engine
credit:
A.J. Bennett & Co. Ltd.