Reply To: When was the parallel rule invented?

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    Judging by the date, the Mr Eckhardt who was mentioned by Justin Reay as the inventor of the parallel ruler was Anthony George (Antoine Georges) Eckhardt, who was born in the Netherlands about 1740 and died, probably in England about 1810.
    He seems to have been an ingenious chap, having also invented pumping machinery to drain the polders, and a geared capstan, devised by him, was installed in HMS Defiance about 1780. This was the predecessor the Phillips Capstan, which worked on the same principle, and was installed in many British warships. There is a model of Eckhardt’s machine in the basement at the NMM, but I don’t believe it has ever been exhibited. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society.
    See: Nautical Research Journal Vol 43, p.188-190 and Captans and Windlasses: An Illustrated History of the their use at Sea, p. 96.
    John Harland