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made in Europe

Postcard of Dividers.
© National Museums Scotland


This pair of steel dividers, also known as a pair of compasses, were made in Europe in the 18th century. They are unsigned.

The legs of the dividers are triangular in cross-section, tapering to a point.

Dividers were used in chart-work for pricking out a course, or measuring out distances on a chart against the calibrations of linear measurement on the Mercator latitude scales found on sectors.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-707-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1966.73
Date: 18th century
Material: Steel
Dimensions: 4.81" L overall
Subject: 19. MATHEMATICS (Departmental Classification)
Where: Europe
Description: Steel dividers, with a two and one-leaf ball hinge with a steel hinge pin, and truncated-triangular section legs tapering to a point, Europe, unsigned, 18th century
  • For dividers, see Turner, Anthony, Early Scientific Instruments 1400-1800. London: 1987, pp 154-5 
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