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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In the English instrument-maker Jesse Ramsden completed this machine, designed to divide arcs of circles automatically.

His machines were also inspired by the prior work of the enginw. Transversals based on straight lines do not provide correct subdivisions on an arc, so other methods, such as those based on the use of circular arcs as developed by Philippe de La Hirewere also used.

They took a lot of effort to produce and it is helpful to know whether I should do more in the same vein. Please leave a comment if you find these files of use or interest to you. It includes the determination of the measurement data, the reduction and interpretation of the data to usable form, and, conversely, the establishment of relative position and size according to given measurement requirements.

Ramsden’s circular dividing engine had a inch horizontal wheel with precision teeth, which were engaged by an accurate lead-screw.

Dividing engine – Wikipedia

Internet URLs are the best. Discover some of the most interesting and trending topics of Prior to his invention, the division and inscription of scales on mathematical instruments was done by hand. Regal Art Press, It consisted of tracing a certain number of concentric circles on an instrument and dividing each successive one with one fewer divisions than the adjacent outer circle.


The first true circular dividing engine was probably constructed by Henry Hindleya clockmaker, around While beam compass use was critically dependent on the skill of the user, his machine produced more regular divisions by virtue of its design. At that time, there was an exhibition about the voyages of Captain James Cook.

John Troughton constructed an engine after Ramsden’s instructions from towhich also inspired his brother Edward. Therefore, the value of the instrument depended on the accuracy of the maker and his tools.

He desired to improve on the graduation of instruments by removing the skill of the maker from the technique where possible. Collections Search Search Terms. Description Making precisely divided scales was of great importance to eighteenth and nineteenth century navigation and science.

Circular Dividing Engine that made surveying and scientific instruments sold by the Berger Company. This wonderful machine is on exhibit at the Museum of Surveying in Lansing, Michigan InJesse Ramsden of England invented the circular dividing engine, an instrument which had a profound impact on Western history.

Machinedevice, having a unique purpose, that jessf or replaces human or animal effort for the accomplishment of physical tasks. As railroads were laid across the United States, surveyors found they needed an instrument which would allow them to “determine a number of angles in less time and more accurately than was possible with the plain or vernier compass.


This article is written like a personal reflection, personal essay, or argumentative essay that states a Wikipedia editor’s personal feelings or presents an original argument about a topic. Instrument makers devised various devices to perform such tasks.

Ramsden Dividing Engine

About research at Cambridge. Leiserowitz is taken from the Museum of Surveying Newsletter. 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.

Young, it achieved international use and has survived with virtually little change until the present. O Say Can You See?

The precise instruments made by Young’s dividing engines were crucial to wngine surveying profession as the growing United States began to explore and colonize the American West. See the essays on Jesse Ramsden and Edward Troughton for more information about their careers, dealings with the Board, and some of their surviving instruments.

Cambridge Digital Library

This permitted an improvement in the accuracy of the dividing engine. The Papers are in the 2nd and 3rd links here: Notify me of new comments via email. The Early History of Berger Instruments, You are commenting using your Facebook account. This wonderful machine is on exhibit at the Museum of Surveying in Lansing, Michigan.