Graphical Construction Glossary >> Tools. >> Hand Tools >> Wing Compass
A couple of sets of bronze compasses or dividers and a set square. Ancient Greek tools that are still being copied and used with little change today. These ones are on display in the Science Museum in London.
It is common for art historians and the like to talk about Blake's famous watercolour above as showing the architect of the universe using a compass. Of course they are not talking about the compass found in tech drawing sets. They are large tools used by building tradesmen for setting out work, often full size. So they can be called either dividers or compasses.
The masons that Blake would have known in his lifetime (1757 - 1827) would have been very familiar with these tools. When they were setting out full size drawings for their work they often made a flat slab of plaster to make their drawings on so the tools that they used would have been pointed on both ends.
This large wrought iron compass could quite easily be a few hundred years old. Despite it's age this Wing Compass will still do the work it was built for. It will scribe a circle about 4ft diameter.
What we see above are a couple of drawing instruments. They are student grade and the use of these is usually confined to doing scale drawings. The small beam compass is tiny and it is something that I have not seen before.
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