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Verner Cavalry Sketch Board

Verner Cavalry Sketch Board

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”.

Stamped on upper scale bar "VERNER'S PATENT No 1328". Maker's name stamped on the reverse of bottom scale bar "ELLIOTT BROS LONDON"

The board is very well made, of high-quality timbers including box and beech and brass, and features a leather wrist strap on the rear. The sketching board and compass are in very good condition and full working order. There is some minor wear to the original leather wrist strap, and the gilt brass fittings are also worn.

The instrument measures 242 mm x 178 mm x 22 mm


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