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Science City 1550 -1800: The Linbury Gallery
Explore the objects on display in Science City and discover how London grew from a bustling capital city to a global hub for trade, commerce, and scientific enquiry between 1550 and 1800.
Demainbray's Newcomen engine model
King George III
Newcomen engine model, maker unknwon, before 1753. Once belonged to Stephen Demainbray.
Orrery made for the Earl of Orrery
Orrery or planetary model, c. 1712, made for Charles Boyle, the fourth Earl of Orrery by John Rowley, Fleet Street, London. The instrument was copied from one made by George Graham, and termed ‘orrery’ after its purchaser.
Sun-and-moon dial by Elias Allen
Sun-and-moon dial made by Elias Allen between 1607 and 1653 at his workshop, near St. Clement's Church, London. Engraved "Elias Allen fecit a Moone diall". It is callibrated for use at the latitude 51 1/2.
Early balance spring watch by Thomas Tompion
Early balance spring pocket watch in silver case made by Thomas Tompion, Fleet Street, London, England, 1675-79. The watch features an unusual dial showing minutes on the main dial and two subsidiary dials for the hours (in the upeer position) and seconds (in the lower position). The subsidairy dial for hours inidicates up to six hours in each cycle.
Astrolabe by Ferdinand Arsenius
Astrolabe made by Ferdinand Arsenius, Antwerp, Flanders, 1607-1618.
Reflecting telescope by William Herschel
Newtonian reflecting telescope with 6 1/8-inch diameter speculum mirror of 7-foot focal length with mahogany tube and altazimuth stand; includes accessories and a pamphlet of directions for use. Telescope made by Herschel for his friend Sir William Watson in Bath, 1783-1785.
Robert Hooke type microscope
Compound microscope designed by Robert Hooke, 1671-1700 and thought to have been made by Christopher Cock, Long Acre, Covent Garden, London, but not signed. Part of an accessory for manipulating specimens has survived and the objective lens is a modern replacement made in 1965.
Magnetic toy by George Adams
King George III
Magnetic toy demonstration device made by George Adams, Fleet Street, London, 1765. Consisting of two mahogany boxes. One contains 4 dials with the numbers: 1, 5, 6 and 7 in each - situated beneath sliding lid with square window revealing one number per dial. The second box contains 4 ebony blocks numbered 1, 7, 6, 5, each slightly trapezoid in shape. Both boxes have hinged lids with 2 metal catches at the front.
Painting. [Mrs. Sage] / artist unknown, 1785. Oil on canvas, 77x 63cm or 92 x 78.5 x 11 cm in gilt frame. Portrait, HL, of Mrs. Letitia Ann Sage, 'The first English female aerial traveller' in Lunardi's balloon ascent of 29 June 1785; with balloon motif. Head, bust, white fur mantle, hat and half-veil. aeronaut/balloonist
Silver microscope by George Adams, c. 1761.
Silver ‘Universal Double Microscope’ with ornate decoration by George Adams the Elder, Fleet Street, London, c. 1763. The drawer in the base contains several accessories: an alternative eyepiece and eye cap, a stand for the jointed arm, three sets of objectives, talc discs for slides, a fishplate with a glass slide attached, three magnifiers, a pair of stage forceps, a live box, a pair of tweezers and a nosepiece.
Gunter sector signed Elias Allen
Brass Gunter sector made by Elias Allen in 1623, near St Clement's Church (without Temple Bar), London. It is signed 'Elias Allen fecit 1623.'
Theodolite used for the Principal Triangulation of Great Britain
Main part of three-foot geodetic theodolite, sometimes called the ‘great Theodolite’, used for the Principal Triangulation of Great Britain. Made by Jesse Ramsden, Piccadilly, London, 1791.
Drawing instruments by Charles Whitwell
Case of drawing instruments in leather sling case made by Charles Whitwell between 1593-1610 near St. Clement's Church (without Temple Bar), London. The set contains a pair of 8-inch brass-and-steel dividers with pencil attachment, an 8-inch brass sector, 41/2-inch brass three-legged dividers (probably not original to the set and made at a later date) , a pair of 41/2-inch brass dividers and a brass scribing tool used to mark a surface on which a line is to be drawn. The sector is engraved with the initials 'C.W' for Charles Whitwell.
Dividing engine for making sextants and octants
Made late 1700s, modified 1800s
Dividing engine for the manufacture of small scientific instruments such as sextants and octants, made in England, late eighteenth century with nineteenth-century modifications. The cast brass 37 5/8-inch dividing plate is supported on three rollers with a heavy cast metal frame on a large wooden tripod. The general design is similar to Jesse Ramsden’s original dividing engine. This engine was used c.1883-1953 by the firm A. J. Bennett and Co Ltd. (founded by Albert Josiah Bennett), Walworth Road, London, England.
Table clock by Nicholas Vallin
Circular table-clock with calendrical and lunar indications made by Nicholas Vallin in London between 1598 and 1603.
‘Visual glasses’ designed by Benjamin Martin
Horn and steel bow spectacles in red shagreen case (now faded). Designed by Benjamin Martin in 1756 and termed ‘Visual Glasses’. The distinctive thick-rimmed design and violet or green tinted lenses (which do not survive in this example) were ridiculed by some contemporaries but ultimately proved popular and were copied by other makers. Thus the maker of this pair is unknown. Martin used the glasses as his trademark; an image of them appears on his trade cards and receipts.
Pocket watch by Thomas Tompion
Pocket watch with cylinder escapement and tortoiseshell case made by Thomas Tompion, Fleet Street, London, between 1675 and 1700. Inscribed 'T. Tompion London 3' on the movement and inscribed 'Graham' on the dial.
Telescope by Christopher Cock
Refracting five-draw telescope made by Christopher Cock, Long Acre, London, 1673. Inscribed ‘Christopher Cock Londini 1673’. The tube is decorated in gold designs on red vellum and features a royal coat of arms.
Pocket globe in case by Dudley Adams
Three-inch pocket globe in fish-skin case by Dudley Adams, Fleet Street, London, 1799-1802. A celestial map lines the inside of the case. The terrestrial globe is inscribed: ‘A New Globe of the Earth by Dudley Adams’. The voyages of Captain James Cook are also shown.
Telescope by John Yarwell.
Refracting eight-draw telescope made by John Yarwell, Ludgate Street, London, 1685-1695. Inscribed ‘'John Yarwell, Fecit’. The tube is decorated in gold designs on green vellum and features a royal coat of arms.
Slide rule by Robert Bissaker
Slide rule made by Robert Bissaker in 1654, Radcliffe (now Wapping), London. Signed 'Robert Bissaker 1654 For T W'. It is the earliest-known dated straight slide rule.
Small orrery by Benjamin Martin
Small orrery on mahogany stand by Benjamin Martin, England, mid-18th century. The orrery shows seven planets (to Uranus), but Uranus is thought to be a later addition.
Section of lightning conductor from St Paul’s cathedral
Iron bar which formed one section of the lightning conductor installed on St. Paul’s cathedral, London, in 1769, as recommended by a Royal Society committee. This bar remained in place until 1899.
George III's philosophical table
King George III
Philosophical table made for King George III by George Adams, Fleet Street, London, 1761-62. A pillar in three pieces, two wooden rings and wooden nut; vertical board with ivory scale (one fixing screw and washer missing) and backing board for pendulum experiments are attached.
Celestial globe by Willem Janszoon Blaeu
Celestial globe made by Willem Janszoon Blaeu, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1603.
Pair-cased pocket watch
Pair-cased pocket watch in pinchbeck and leather outer casing with verge escapement, made by Will Kipling, London, 1705-1737. Movement inscribed 'Will Kipling no.483'. The movement consists of silver pillars (jewelled endstone removed).
Pedometer by Spencer & Perkins
Pedometer or waywiser with fob hook, made by Spencer & Perkins, 1775-1794.
George III's double-barrelled air pump
King George III
Double barrelled air pump and reservoir, made by George Adams, Fleet Street, London, 1761.
Compendium by Augustine Ryther
Compendium comprised of universal equinoctial sundial, compass and calendar made by Augustine Ryther in 1588. Signed 'A Ryther * Fecit * 1588" and incribed "WILLIAM PAWLEY OWETH THIS SAME IN ANNO DOMINI 1588".
Pocket microscope by Jeremiah Sisson
Pocket microscope in shagreen case made by Jeremiah Sisson, the Strand, London, in 1752. The case acts as both a receptacle by which to store and transport the microscope when not in use and as a base on which the microscope can be attached when in use. It is accompanied by a brass slide holding lenses of varying magnification, a specimen disc and forceps. It once belonged to Stephen Demainbray and is inscribed: 'Dr. Demainbray invent/ J.Sisson London'.
Armillary sphere by Girolamo Della Volpaia
Armillary sphere made by Girolamo Della Volpaia, Florence, Italy, 1554. Inscribed ‘'Hieronymus Carmilli Vulpariae, Florentin, F.1554'.
Moon globe by John Russell;England;1797
Moon globe 12-inch in diameter on libration stand, by John Russell, R.A., London, England, 1797. Known as ‘Selenographia’, the globe shows the nearside of the Moon visible from Earth. It has a mechanical mounting which demonstrates lunar libration, and which also features a miniature terrestrial globe.
Brass quadrant by Peter and John Dollond of 18-inch radius with optical sights on a tripod
Brass quadrant of 18-inch radius with optical sights on a tripod stand. Made by Peter and John Dollond, St Paul’s churchyard, London, and issued by the British Admiralty for surveying work in Lower Canada.
Terrestrial globe by Willem Janszoon Blaeu
Terrestrial globe made by Willem Janszoon Blaeu, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1599.
Model of H.M. Bark 'Endeavour', 1974
Rigged model of H.M. Bark 'Endeavour', 1974. Originally merchant collier ‘Earl of Pembroke’, the ship was purchased by the Royal Navy in 1768, to be refitted and renamed for the voyage of Lieutenant (later Captain) James Cook for his voyage to Tahiti to observe the transit of Venus.
Sextant by Jesse Ramsden
Brass sextant by Jesse Ramsden, Piccadilly, London, 1770-75. Sextant has polished brass 120° scale (-2° to 136°) with 20’ divisions and brass vernier (30”), three index-filter shades (red & green), one horizon filter (red) and ‘Maskelyne flap’ for greater accuracy when taking a sight of the Sun or Moon. Fitted with threaded telescope bracket for sighting telescope (130mm –inverted image). The instrument has its original fitted mahogany keystone case.
Model diving bell
King George III
Model diving bell with 12 sinking weights, unknown maker, before 1753. Once belonged to Stephen Demainbray.
Handheld reading lens and case
Handheld reading lens and leather case, maker unknown, 1680-1700.
Surveyor's Level by Joseph Jackson
King George III
Surveyor's level made by Joseph Jackson, Strand, London, 1735-60. Signed 'Jos: Jackson LONDON'.
Demainbray's model of a camera obscura
King George III
Model demonstrating the principle of a camera obscura, unknown maker, 1752, but once belonged to Stephen Demainbray.
Orrery by Thomas Wright
King George III
Orrery with original winding handle made by Thomas Wright, Fleet Street, London, 1735-1740. Once belonged to Stephen Demainbray.
Telescope by John Marshall
Refracting seven-draw telescope made by John Marshall, Ludgate Street, London, 1685-1695.
Pair of seventeenth-century dividers
Pair of 121/2 inch dividers made during the seventeenth century, maker and place of production unknown.
Case for William Roy’s standard scale, 1742
Weighing & Measuring
Case for 42-inch standard scale marked with a standard yard, 1742, inscribed: ‘General Roy’s 3-Feet Standard’. The scale was owned by surveyor William Roy and used by him whilst conducting measurements of a baseline at Hounslow Heath in 1784.
Marine chronometer by John Arnold and Son, 1787-1799
Two-day marine chronometer (No 63) by John Arnold and Son, Cornhill, London, 1787-1799.