Jesse Ramsden and his Dividing Engine. 1 09 Forty-three years ago I paid a visit to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. At that. In the English instrument-maker Jesse Ramsden completed this machine, even small American instrument-makers had begun to buy dividing engines. Dividing engine, made by Jesse Ramsden, London, This machine permitted the automatic and highly accurate division of a circle into degrees and .

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Dividing engine | machine |

It used a toothed index plate and a worm gear to advance the mechanism. Instruments were produced one at a time, which limited the number available for purchase and making them prohibitively expensive.

The Nautical Sextant A must-have work for enthusiasts on sextant construction, restoration, repair and adjustment. The technology was partially inspired by clock making tools. The archive of this list will perhaps last longer than I do…If you navigate to http: Help us improve this article!

Edward Troughton was the first to build a copy of the Ramsden design. If you prefer to suggest your own revision of the article, you can go to edit mode requires login. Thanks a lot for these documents! To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: In early instruments, graduations enigne typically etched or scribed lines engime woodivory or brass.

Keep in touch Let us know your feedback Keep me informed. Further improvements came slowly, and a new development was required: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


Dividing engines allowed eighteenth- and nineteenth-century instrument makers to more precisely and quickly mark the divisions on mathematical instrument scales – like the lines on a rule or protractor – and to make smaller and more affordable instruments. This machine is still operable and was the primary circular dividing engine in use at Berger.

Samuel Rhee developed his own endless screw cutting machine and was able to sell machines to others.

Ramsden Dividing Engine | National Museum of American History

Please help identify this antique brass machine A ejsse engine is a device employed to mark graduations on measuring instruments to allow for reading smaller measurements than can be allowed by directly engraving them.

In the English instrument-maker Jesse Ramsden completed this machine, designed to divide arcs of circles automatically. I hope it will be of interest to rmasden, as without dividing engines, the sextant upon which the navigator until recently relied would not have reached its final accuracy. October Learn how and when to remove this template message.

Dividing Engine

Study at Cambridge Undergraduate Graduate International students Continuing education Executive and professional education Courses in education. Collections Search Search Terms. At that time, there was an exhibition about the voyages of Captain James Cook. This permitted an improvement in the accuracy of the dividing engine. Looking through your other posts.

For every improvement in the measuring instruments, such as better alidades or the introduction of telescopic sights, the need for more exact graduations immediately followed. In other projects Wikimedia Commons. Edward Troughton became renowned for his own dividing skills, and produced an improved engine in The surveyor’s transit was [then] evolved by the addition of a telescope to replace the sighting bars.


Ramsden was apprenticed as a boy to a cloth worker, but in he apprenticed himself to a mathematical instrument maker. The Commissioners relied upon these men’s wares and expertise, and also rewarded Ramsden and helped to spread his dividing technology.

Turning this screw 6 times rotates the carriage for the stylus exactly one degree. The most successful of Young’s endeavors, it was capable of dividing circular scales 44 inches in diameter. This was very cool.

There were not enough makers to have created a long tradition of practice and few were trained by masters. Description Making precisely divided scales was of great importance to eighteenth and nineteenth century navigation and science.

The telescope enabled the horizontal and vertical angles of an objective to be measured simultaneously with reference to an assumed horizontal plane and assumed azimuth direction. He went into business for himself in…. Brass was in hammered sheets with rough surfaces and iron graving tools were poor quality.

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