The Pantograph

Christoph Scheiner (1575-1650), Christophori Scheiner, e Societate Iesu Germano-Sueui, Pantographice, seu, Ars delineandi res quaslibet per parallelogrammum lineare seu cauum, mechanicum, mobile (Romae: Ex typographia Ludouici Grignani, 1631). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2004-2933N

If you want to enlarge one of these images, you can just click on the thumbnail and a larger image will appear. In the seventeenth century, for the first time, artists had a device, called the pantograph, to help them mechanically copy a design on an enlarged or reduced scale.

Christopher Scheiner, a German Jesuit, was responsible for designing and building the first pantograph in 1603. An illustration of the device can be seen in his 1630 book, Rosa ursina Sive Sol, along with other instruments he invented including a refracting telescope. The following year, Scheiner published a manual on the construction and use of the device, entitled Pantographice, seen here.

There are several types of pantographs, each consisting of parallel and intersecting rods. Scheiner’s frontispiece engraving depicts it being used both horizontal and vertical. To make your own pantograph, see