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Verner Cavalry Sketch Board

Technical Information

Catalogue No: C1714
Category: Vintage and Antique
Object Type: Indicator/Instrument
Object Name: Verner Cavalry Sketch Board
Part No: None
Serial No: 298
Manufacturer: Elliott Bros (London) Ltd
Year of Manufacture: Unknown
Dimensions: Width (mm): 242
Height (mm): 178
Depth (mm): 22
Weight (g): 0
Location: Cupboard CI (Display 4) [Main Store]

Primary Inscriptions: Stamped on upper scale bar "CAPT- VERNER'S PATENT No- 298" Maker's name stamped on underside of bottom scale bar "ELLIOTT BROS- | LONDON"


This is a small drawing board with compass, surveying protractor/clinometer, and scales, designed to be strapped to the wrist or forearm with a leather strap attached to the back and to be used one-handed on horseback or in the field by military surveyors. Graph paper spooled around the rods and an articulated arm is attached to the front, achieving the same result as a parallel ruler.
The board was originally designed by Colonel W H Richards, who taught military surveying at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in about 1880 before he went on to teach in India. The board was improved by Captain (later Colonel, later still Sir) Willoughby Verner (1852-1922) who was Professor of Military Topography at Sandhurst. The board then became known as Verner’s. He patented improvements in 1887 and 1891, patent nos: GB1887/4198 and GB1891/22129. The latter patent covered the rule attached by the brass arms and the spring washers to hold the rollers against slipping. Verner published his own guide to the sketching board in 1889. However, the board was not universally loved, and some referred to it as “The damnable cavalry sketching board”. Verner patented a number of other instruments as well including a prismatic compass, and also wrote a book on field sketching and reconnaissance.
This item was made in about 1887

The Sketch Board was acquired with the Collection of the late Ron Howard (A similar Board was presented to The Museum of the History of Science in Oxford by the late Ron Bristow a former Assistant General Manager of Marconi Electronic Systems)

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