Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"Douglas" Combined Protractor & Parallel Rule

This particular item dips into history in several ways.

Its inventor was Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Percy Douglas (1876-1939), a talented British naval surveyor who became Hydrogropher of the Navy in 1924.  He is perhaps best remembered for the Douglas Sea Scale.

The protractor was manufactured by the London Name Plate Manufacturing Company of Brighton, England.  That company dates back to 1810, when its predecessor, Thomas Malby & Sons, was formed to make globes, maps and Admiralty charts.  In 1912, the London Name Plate Manufacturing Company was founded, but moved to Brighton in 1920.  During World War II it made cockpit dials, bomb aiming devices, and plotting and navigational devices. After the war, it produced various types of labels, and continues to do so today as LNP.  It is still owned and managed by the 7th generation of the Malby family.

The price tag indicates that it was sold (for $1.65!) by Hughes Owens, a Canadian company that began manufacturing and distributing graphics products and drafting supplies around 1900. They also marketed a wide range of technical instruments including planimeters, survey instruments, marine chronometers, marine and aircraft compasses for the Canadian military, sextants, barometers and other meteorological instruments, microscopes and slide rules. They designed and manufactured their own instruments including marine compasses. They were the Canadian agent for Sperry Gyroscope navigational instruments and were purchased by Azon in 1988.

On display at Borden Military Museum

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