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A large and good quality mahogany cased nickel-silver rolling parallel rule by Elliot Bros c1875. Period instrument of nickel-silver construction with brass handles. In original fitted mahogany case with breadboard ends and pinned dovetailed corners - an indicator of the quality of construction. These were supplied for technical drawing or navigational purposes. Upper side to baseplate engraved in script "Elliott Bros 449, Strand, London." The rule is 61 cm in length and 10 cm in depth. Case measures 64 cm by 13 cm and 5.75 cm in height.


William Elliott (born c1800) completed his apprenticeship (under William Backwell, a compass and drawing instrument maker) in 1804 – marrying in the same year. It is thought that he established his own company as a drawing instrument maker around this time, also taking on his first apprentice.  In 1817, trading as William Elliott, he moved from 26 Wilderness Row, Goswell Street to Great Newport Street, London where he also became known as an optician in addition to the manufacture of drawing instruments and mathematical scales. In 1827 the company moved to 227 High Holborn, moving again to 268 High Holborn in 1833. In 1850 the company moved to 56 Strand and William brought his two sons, Frederick Henry and Charles Alfred, as partners into the business – trading as William Elliott and Sons. William died in 1853, passing the business to his sons who began trading as Elliott Brothers. They continued developing the range of instruments manufactured, producing most of the standard mathematical, optical, surveying and navigational instruments for British and overseas customers. In 1857 they took over the business of Watkins and Hill, Instrument Makers and the company began advertising electrical apparatus. Instruments for the new applications of electricity were produced, which became an increasingly important part of the company’s activity. In 1867 they exhibited at the 1867 Paris Exhibition, by now trading from 449 Strand, London – describing themselves as manufacturers of mathematical, optical, and philosophical instruments. Charles Alfred retired, and the partnership was dissolved in 1870 – although the company continued trading as Elliott Brothers. Frederick continued to run the business as sole proprietor, leaving the business to his wife Susan on his death (which different sources have as 1873 or 1877). Susan died in 1880 – this being the end of the Elliott family connection with the business. In 1893 the company amalgamated with Theiler & Co, telegraph and instrument makers – and with a move to new premises in 1900, they began making speedometers and instruments for ships and aircraft. In 1947 the company merged with the weighing machine manufacturers B and P Swift. A research laboratory as set up at Boreham Wood and the company began the earlier manufacture of computers and flight automation equipment (made at Rochester). Various takeovers followed with operations being moved to alternative sites.

Large Quality Mahogany Cased Rolling Parallel Rule by Elliott Bros c1875

SKU: MS155
  • This rolling rule is in excellent condition commensurate with age. Nickel-silver surface in aged condition but without any significant marks. Rolling mechanism functions perfectly. Extremely minor knocks and marks external to case. A few age cracks to the mahogany case which remains in very good and solid condition. Please see images as these form an important part of the description.

  • Free standard delivery to the UK (4-6 working days). UK express delivery option available at checkout. Delivery to a limited number of EU locations available at checkout – please contact us for delivery costs if your location is not given. We will provide quotes for delivery options valid for three days. Items will be reserved for this period. All delivery times stated are estimates and will vary within zones. We do not deliver to PO boxes. All items require a signature on delivery. For full delivery details visit our information page.

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