Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,518 pages of information and 233,949 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Humfrey Cole

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Folding/surveying rule, 1575, on display at the Museo Galileo (Florence)

Humfrey Cole (c. 1530-91) is the first known maker in the English mathematical instrument trade.

Originally from the north of England, he worked in London.

His instruments included astrolabes, sundials, and theodolites. He also engraved maps, and worked as a die-sinker in the Mint in the Tower of London.

He supplied navigational instruments for the voyages of Martin Frobisher in search of the North-West passage in the 1570s.

The above information is condensed from the Epact website, which also includes links to surviving instruments made between 1574 and 1596.

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