Brass, steel, ivory
Overall: 9 1/4 x 14 3/4 x 6 3/4 in. (23.5 x 37.5 x 17.1 cm)
Geometrical lathe, a mechanical device used to engrave metal plates for printing the borders and backgrounds of bank notes with complex ornamental patterns; device consists of a series of brass rings of diminishing size joined by bolts and screws; with one ivory knob, a lever with ivory ring handle, and an ivory ring with minute calibrations near top. The chuck is the main part of the geometrical lathe, which was driven by belts powered by a foot treadle.
Gift of Cyrus Durand
As the sons of a watchmaker, the Durand brothers Cyrus (1787-1868) and Asher (1796-1886) were raised in an environment that valued aptitude in the mechanical arts. While both became accomplished engravers, Cyrus also had a career as a machinist creating mechanical devices for textile and other industries that flourished in northern New Jersey in the first decades of the nineteenth century. By 1824 the brothers had each established livelihoods as commercial engravers, and joined that year as partners in the firm of A.B. & C. Durand & Company