pdf print

The pantograph, an apparatus for making enlarged or reduced drawings, first appeared in the early seventeenth century, its invention credited to the Jesuit mathematician and astronomer Christoph Scheiner (1575-1650). The CCA version, shown here, was manufactured in England in the early nineteenth century. It is part of a collection of some 40 individual and sets of drawing instruments and aids at the CCA.

The lacquered brass instrument is engraved with the maker’s name and with standard ratios and scales to assist in its functioning. The pantograph includes a brass disc fitted with sharp points on its underside to hold the tool firmly to the drafting table, a stylus with which to trace an existing drawing, and a pencil holder that also accommodates a cup to hold a lead weight. Ivory wheels affixed to the articulated joints permit the instrument to move smoothly. A fitted mahogany case, lined with felt, protected the instrument within the office and during transport.

Christoph Scheuer described the functioning of the pantograph in his publication Pantographice (1631), and improved versions of the instrument subsequently were illustrated in works by Nicholas Bion (1709), Diderot and d’Alembert (1743) and George Adams the Younger (1791).