Astragal Press books on antique tools and more






Mr. Marquois's
Most Useful Pair of Scales

By James M. Gaynor

In November 1778, Thomas Marquois placed his first advertisement for "His artificial Parallel and Perpendicular Scale or Ruler, by which military plans are drawn accurately in half the usual time …"
Thomas Marquois was a Huguenot, living in London, whose family had fled from France when the persecution of Protestants became intolerable. We do not know his date of birth but in 1742, he was apprenticed to Paul Foudrinier, one of the leading 18th century engravers. Whether he finished his apprenticeship has not been recorded but in 1757, an advertisement was placed in London Public Advertiser by John Muller the Professor of Fortification and Artillery at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, recommending his " late Pupil Mr. T. O. MARQUOIS, of John-street, near Oxford-market, London, as perfectly capable of teaching those Sciences …"
In 1757, Marquois opened his first military academy in the Tilt Yard Coffee House in Whitehall where he offered to teach a range of subjects including Fortification, Artillery, Mathematics, Navigation, Drawing, &c. He continued to run his academy in a variety of locations in London until his death in 1802, at the same time promoting his parallel scales to which over time, he made a number of improvements.
Although Marquois sank into obscurityafter his death, his scales did not and Marquois parallel scales are described in nearly every English book on mathematical instruments published during the nineteenth century. Many of the best-known mathematical and scientific instrument makers offered them. During the early twentieth century, knowledge of their use was required for students taking their examination for admission to the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. The British military continued to acquire them as recently as World War II.
This monograph outlines Marquois's life, explains how his scales were used, who made them and several later improvements. It is extensively illustrated and includes Marquois's own instructions for their use.

About the author: James M. Gaynor was Director of Historic Trades and a Consulting Curator for Mechanical Arts at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation at the time of his passing in 2014. He had an insatiably enquiring mind and over his life, he developed probably the most comprehensive understanding that has ever been accomplished in the study of historic tools and trades. Perhaps the most singular thing about Jay was that he shared that knowledge so generously and freely with anyone who showed an interest, whether they be academics, working tradespeople or just interested amateurs or collectors. Not only was he hugely knowledgeable and willing to share, he was also immensely interested in whatever his colleagues and friends were doing, sustaining that level of interest throughout his career.
In 1994 he curated Colonial Williamsburg's tremendously successful exhibit, "Tools, Working Wood in 18th Century America", which ran from January 1994 through June 1995 in the DeWitt Wallace Gallery at Colonial Williamsburg which brought together the best of many collections from both America and Britain. He co-authored, with Nancy Hagedorn, the book "Tools, Working Wood in Eighteenth Century America" which gives a lasting record of the exhibit and is a seminal reference work for anyone interested in this field.
As part of his duties at Williamsburg, Jay ran a number of symposia covering various trades, including the hugely popular Woodworking Symposium, held in January of each year for the last 17 years. He has written and lectured extensively on historic tools and trades. He was a founding member of the Tools and Trades History Society (TATHS) in Britain. He served on the Board and was President of the Early American Industries Association (EAIA). Jay had spent over eight years researching, documenting, and writing the material presented in this book. Jane Rees in cooperation with TATHS worked to get this material published and shared with those interested as a lasting tribute to Jay Gaynor.

86 pages, paperback, color and b&w illustrations, 8.25" x 10", © 2015
Order Number: VAP387..........$20.00


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