Plates & Templates

These plates demonstrate the use of scrap metal for practicing engraving techniques. Felix Dominy was eighteen years old when he practiced engraving the date 1818 on this copper exercise plate (63.156.31). The dates 1819, 1820, and 1826 also appear on its surface. His full name in script was tried at one time and, on another occasion, he used this piece of copper to test his initial die.

The other brass plate (63.156.30, see column 5)  was used in a vertical position. Because the height of this brass sheet is exactly the same as the pierced plates used by Nathaniel IV for some of his clocks, it was relatively easy for him to set out "the positions of the pivot holes" for the wheels of his gear train. While not visible in this photograph, numbers for the teeth to be cut on pinions and wheels are scratched within the circles on the Dominys' plate. These are 6, 8, 84, 72, 64, 42, 36, 72, 72, 96, 42, 60, 30, and 40 (column 6 below).