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08 Slide Rule on the Rim of a Snuff Box

image of Slide Rule on the Rim of a Snuff Box

I remember seeing this snuff box in the window of a jewellery shop and waiting outside for three hours until they opened.

It is made of three-colour écaille moulée, an early form of resinous plastic, which is made by mixing fine tortoiseshell dust with a colourant and resin and heating it under pressure. It was described in 1816 by Jomard as being invented and made by the ‘mécanicien’ Hoyau of 14 rue Mauconseil, Paris. He clearly thought that snuff takers had a need for a slide rule.

The base is impressed with a ’VUE DU PONT DE LA CONCORDE’ and the top with a ‘VUE DE LA GALLERIES DU LOUVRE’.

The logarithmic scale is of single radius and is stamped ‘HOYAU.’ Rotating the lid against the base facilitates calculations and it is contained in a velvet lined, red Morocco box.

Hoyau was also an engraver as, in the previous year, he engraved the plate of the English ‘Soho’ slide rule made by W. & S. Jones that Jomard was encouraging the French to adopt (a version was later produced in Paris by Etienne Lenoir, 1744-1832). A few years later Hoyau was promoting the calculating machine of Thomas de Colmar and later still he was writing on metalworking, where he also engraved the plates.

French, c. 1816

See:  Bulletin de la Société d'Encouragement pour L'Industrie Nationale, 15e Année, p.173, 1816

Bulletin de la Société d'Encouragement pour L'Industrie Nationale, February 1822

Hoyau, Modèles de Serrurerie, Paris 1826

Collection: Peter Delehar, London

Objects lent by Peter Delehar, London:

11. Reversible Circular Slide Rule, English, c.1840

25. Slide Rules - a Selection of the Original Pocket Calculators

26. Javal's Ophthalmic Slide Rule, by A. Cretes, Paris, c. 1875

27. Triangular Slide Rule with Four Sliders, by Elliott, London, c. 1870

28. Oil Calculation Slide Rule Designed by Forrest M. Towl, New York, c. 1889

29. Master Rule and Gauging Slide Rule, by Dring & Fage, London, 19th Century

30. Anderson Celluloid Gridiron Slide Rule, by Casella & Co, London, c. 1903

31. Slide Rule in a Drawing Scale, by J. Casartelli, Manchester, c. 1870

32. Circular Slide Rule, by Joseph Lamb, London, c. 1827

33. Roubicek Circular Slide Rule for Surveying, by Neuhöfer & Sohn, Vienna, c. 1870

34. Annular Slide Rule, by Elliott Brothers, London, c. 1875

36. Box Sextant with Integral Slide Rule, by Troughton & Simms, London, c. 1870

41. 2ft Gunter Rule, owned by Thomas Annand, English, 1683

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