Caliper & Compass

The Dominys used compasses as tools of measurement for such work as scribing circular patterns for the boards of a barrel or cask or the circumferences of woolen wheels. Another kind of compass was known as the "oval-tracing machine," used by cabinetmakers and turners to trace ovals. Only the compass itself survived in the Dominy Tool Collection; its cross, or track, is a modern replacement made by the Winterthur Museum's cabinetmaker.

(Left) Compass, 1770-1830. Iron. 13" (L) , 1 1/2" (W closed), 8 1/2" (W open). Mark: 'S. Jarvis" stamped on the arc. Gift of Nathaniel M. Dominy, 1960.0354.001

(Below) Compass, Nathaniel Dominy IV, 1760-1800. Iron; Ivory; Birch; Beech, American; Satinwood. 1.5 (H) , 39.2 (L) , 4.8 (W). Museum purchase, 1957.0093.049




Calipers were constantly used by wood turners to check the diameter or thickness of stock being turned on a lathe.

Calipers, A.K. (maker), Birmingham, England, 1750-1800. Iron. 0.4" (H) , 4.6" (L) , 3.1" (W). Mark: A.K" stamped on the outside of one arm. Museum purchase with funds provided by Henry Belin du Pont, 1957.0026.044