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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Prior to his invention, the division and inscription of scales on mathematical instruments was done by hand.

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By continuing to use the site you agree to the use of cookies. This process now took just 30 minutes rather than hours, and sextants as small as eight inches in radius could be divided this way. Thank You for Your Ramsde International students Continuing education Executive and professional education Courses in education. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Dividing engine | machine |

Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions. Further improvements came slowly, and a new development was required: Tycho Brahe was one exception.

Shortly after the instrument was first commercially produced in quantity in about by William J. When an angle was measured, the circle and the division on which the alidade fell was noted. You may find it helpful to search within the site to see how similar or related subjects are covered. Ramsden’s invention won him an award from the British Board of Longitude.


Wandered onto here while looking for methods of bootstrapping accuracy for lead screws or how to make more accurate tools from less accurate tools. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Early Islamic instrument makers must have had techniques for the fine division of their instruments, as this accuracy is reflected in the accuracy of the readings they made.

Samuel Rhee developed his own endless screw cutting machine and was able to sell machines to others. An object to be divided was clamped to the arms of the bronze wheel, with the cutting mechanism was above it. Views Read Edit View history.

Dividing Engine

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Circular Dividing Engine that made rammsden and scientific instruments sold by the Berger Company. Any text you add should be original, not copied from other sources.

Ramsden shared in the national prize given to solve the longitude measurement problem. This led me to learn about engineering workshop technology and I gradually acquired some practical knowledge of dividing techniques.

The most successful of Young’s endeavors, it was capable of dividing circular scales 44 inches in diameter. These instruments made the exploration of the world’s oceans and the establishment of the British Empire possible. The Dividing Engine in History. Ramsden’s circular dividing engine had a inch horizontal wheel with precision teeth, which were engaged by an accurate lead-screw. He developed a sophisticated beam compass to aid marking of the graduations. Inhe emigrated to the United States and spent an additional five years working for American instrument makers.


This site uses cookies. The Philadelphia firm of Knox and Shain, which made navigational rsmsden, purchased Ramsden’s dividing engine from his successors for their use. While beam compass use was critically dependent on the skill of the user, his machine produced more regular divisions by virtue of its design. The dividing engine was unique among developments in the manufacture of scientific ramsven, as it was immediately accepted by all makers.

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A dividing 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. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here I hope it will be of interest to navigators, as without dividing engines, the sextant upon which the navigator until recently relied would not have reached its final accuracy.

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Ramsden’s invention of the mechanical dividing engine, however, eliminated human error and increased the production of precise scientific and mathematical instruments.