Circa 1700


Unsigned. Made from 7/16" thick boxwood with brass hinges, the rule opens as a rectangular surround with outside dimensions of 13 3/8" x 16 3/8". All six wood segments are divided on both sides with scales in inches and degrees, divided every tenth of an inch and every half degree. In use it would be slipped over a 12" x 15" plain board to hold down the paper and provide direct plotting of angles and distances using an alidade or simple straight edge. One peripheral degree scale is centered on the plane table center, the other on a point just 2 1/4" in from the table's edge. Decorated with a folk art-style engraving of an eel or sea serpent.
Length folded 17.75".
Condition: Condition is fine throughout, noting slight warping.

The absence of a condition report does not imply an object is free of defects. All items may have normal signs of age and wear commensurate with their age; these issues will likely not be mentioned in the condition report. Please contact Eldred's before the auction with any condition questions. Questions about condition will not be answered after purchase. Condition reports are provided as a courtesy, and we are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Important note on frames: Frames are not guaranteed to be in the same condition as they are in the item photograph. Due to handling and shipping, many frames, especially antique ones, are prone to losses. If you have questions about the condition of a frame, please contact us prior to the auction. 

  • Provenance:
    Tesseract, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, 2013.
    The Kelton Collection of Marine Art & Artifacts.

    In his treatise on surveying and navigational instruments, "The Compleat Surveyor" by mathematician William Leybourn (Britain, 1626-1716), first published in 1653, Leybourn outlines the various instruments used in surveying and how they were employed. The Plane Table Rule is described: "The Table itself is a Parallelogram, containing in Length about 14 inches and a half, and in Breadth 11 inches: it is composed of three several boards, which may be taken asunder for ease and convenience in carriage. For the binding of these three boards saft when the Table is set together, there belongeth a joynted frame, so contrived, that it may be taken off, and put on the Table at Pleasure. Tis Fram also is to fasten a sheet of paper upon the Table, when ou are to describe the Plot of any Field or other Inclosure thereupon. This Frame must have upon it near the inward Edge, Scales of equal Parts on both sides, for the Speedy drawing of parallel Lines upon the Paper; and also for the shifting of your Paper, when one sheet will not hold your whole work."

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March 1, 2023 9:30 AM EST
East Dennis, MA, US


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