Antique Drawing Instrument Collection - Shagreen Etui Pocket Set

Bookmark this page Shagreen Etui Pocket Set

  • Maker: Robert Bancks
  • Date: c1810
  • Description and Notes:

    This set was originally belonged to one C. Walters. It is dated to the early nineteenth century as according to the Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1850, the maker, Banks (aka Robert Bancks), was in business from 1805 to 1830 at 441 Strand, London.

    The shagreen case measured about 5¼ inches in length and 2 inches in width, all of the fittings of which are made of silver. The instruments of this set are of the highest quality and workmanship at the turn of the 19th century. The protractor is made of ivory, and the main compass is neatly constructed with sector joint and slip-joints.

    According to W. F. Stanley, the sector joint is more difficult to make than the long joint such as those used in the English brass set of this collection, but the major advantage of which is that it provides constant pressure on the contacting surface of the two legs, such that the compass can be opened or closed more evenly, for the friction force of the joint is the same regardless the opening angle. As to fitting the points into the compass, the stability and durability of the slotted round slip-joint are superior to that of the trianglar shaped joint with tightening screw generally found on common instruments. The slip-joint construction also allows the pencil and the ink points to be snuggly slipped onto the two ends of a common adopter. This is not only a neat arrangement to save storage space, but the jointed assembly can also be conveniently used as a stand alone ruling pen or a pencil.

    This set is nearly complete upon acquisition, save the ink point adjustment screw of the bow compass was missing; the current one is a crude replacement made by myself. The ruling pen is made of steel and brass. Originally, there should be a needle point at the other end of the steel part, which is concealed in the brass handle. When the handle is unscrewed, it can be served as a pricker. Unfortunately, this needle has been rusted or corroded out over the years. Nevertheless the overall condition of this extremely rare set is still exceptionally fine. A similar but not as complete set which was dated to the same period can be found here. Another set, dated to the second half 18th century, which is made of silver but with an almost identical shagreen case and similar components as this one can be found in the Andrew Alpern Collection, p. 20.

  • More Pictures:

    Three assemblies of the compass  | Close look of the spring clip  | Storage arrangement  | Overview of the shagreen case (front)  | Overview of the shagreen case (back)  | Case bottom

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