Friday, September 9, 2022

Looking it up in the catalogue (E.O. Richter compass sets)

Another thing of the information age - researching an item picked up from a thrift-store. In this case two small boxes with drawing tools, marked "E.O. Richter".

In the picture above they've already been cleaned and given a light waxing (following Harlow Wilcox's advice on conserving surfaces)

Something that would've been difficult even 30 years ago; in this digital age it's possible to look things up in the original documentation. Simply searching the name finds information about Mr Richter, the company and the products. On The Archive then, is found a catalogue of the E.O. Richter company with a date of June 1897. 

The two sets are listed :)

This is indeed the contents of the 00. P. set, albeit with mirrored layout (or did somebody flip the image in printing?):

The screwdriver was chipped, so a new tip was ground using the 'Moto-tool'. One pencil-tip holder was missing, here replaced with a modern equivalent - that actually fits; industry standards! Unscrewing the pen-shaft, it actually still contains the promised spare needles and the screwdriver still held a length of pencil-lead.

To also be able to draw very small circles; understandably then also a drop-bow compass.

This is also in the catalogue, set 8:

Still complete, even with the little ampoule for spare pencil-leads.

These two sets of drawing tools were probably also bought together when new - and judging from ink-remains on the ruling-pens the tools were used too. The design of the instruments and the set contents are as shown in the 1897 catalogue, but these boxes may well be a bit later - anywhere between 1900 and 1920. All parts polished up nicely (nickel-silver) and the instruments are still good and usable.

Unfortunately, somebody broke open the boxes with brute-force - must've never seen how these bar-lock boxes work. Instead of wiggling the draw-bar at the front-right corner, they put a screwdriver between the halves and did their best to destroy the boxes. On the small box, luckily the top-eyelet gave way so this only has scars of the screwdriver in the velvet lining. On the larger box however, they thoroughly destroyed the bar-lock. Bad.

Once the remnants of the draw-bar had been 'uncurled' and removed, an attempt was made to make it servicable again. A length of filed-down nail was soldered to the remains of the original brass bar.

Amazingly, this worked out well enough and the bar could be re-fitted to the box. Using strips of veneer the channel was built-up again and a thin pin fixed through the (now very short) slot in the bar to hold it. From this rather crude repair-job only limited travel now remains - but it does work again and the box locks and unlocks.

Nice finds - both for finding out a bot more about them and for giving a chance to tinker and fix something new :-)

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