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made in London

Postcard of Inclinometer.
© National Museums Scotland


An inclinometer, or Brewster's 'Klinometer', was described by the Scottish polymath David Brewster (1781-1868) in a publication of 1813, where this instrument is also illustrated. Apparently for use in geological field work, Brewster wrote: 'This instrument, which is intended to measure with the naked eye the apparent inclination of strata, the declivity of mountains, and the apparent magnitude of angles, when the eye is not at their vertex...'.

The brass instrument, when in use, stands on three levelling feet, with a spirit level in the base, a degree quadrant divided every half degree from -5 to 109, and a sliding index arm with one vernier and black glass mirror swivelling about an axis parallel to the index arm. It comes with a shaped case, with red Morocco leather covering. The instrument is signed along the base :'Jackson & Townson, London.'

Jackson & Townson are listed in London street directories at 89 Bishopsgate between 1865 and 1872, subsequently becoming the well-known instrument suppliers, Townson & Mercer. It is not clear why this instrument should have been specially produced almost fifty years after it was first designed, nor for whom. No other examples of this device have so far come to light.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-000-943-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1998.138
Date: Around 1865
c. 1955
Material: Plastic, green; elasticated fabric cord, black. Inscription: Frame: NON FLAM / Portia / Regd. / MADE IN ENGLAND
Dimensions: 13 mm H x 85 mm x 32 mm (excl. cord)
What: Goggles, sunlamp, protective
Where: England
Description: Protective sunlamp goggles comprising two green plastic lenses with black plastic frames joined by detachable elasticated fabric cord, marked `Non Flam, Portia, Regd. Made in England`, c. 1955
  • Brewster, David. A Treatise on New Philosophical Instruments, for various purposes in the Arts and Sciences... Edinburgh, 1813, pp 86-88. 
  • For David Brewster, see Morrison-Low , A.D. and J.R.R. Christie. Martyr of Science: Sir David Brewster, 1781-1868. Edinburgh, 1984. 
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