Ramsden's Dividing Engine
Winner of the 1775 British Board of Longitude award
Invented by Jesse Ramsden of London, England, this was the first machine that could divide the rim of a circle automatically. It was of great importance in the manufacture of surveying and navigation instruments. By the mid-1800s, even small American instrument-makers had begun to buy dividing engines. The Philadelphia firm of Knox and Shain, which made navigational instruments, purchased Ramsden's dividing engine from his successors.
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