Epicycloidal Cutting Frame

Scope and Content

Manuscript entitled 'Epicycloidal Cutting Frame for producing Compound Figures with Internal or External Loops or Cusps', comprising a description of the tool and measurements for the patterns it creates.

Administrative / Biographical History

The ornamental turning of wood and ivory was a popular leisure occupation among the English aristocracy in the early nineteenth century. Modern lathes were developed in the early eighteenth century, and many improvements were made over the course of the century, most notably by the Holtzapffel firm. Complex cutting tools and accessories, such as the epicycloid cutting frame, enabled the carving of intricate patterns. The epicycloid frame consisted of one or more circular gears rotating around a fixed gear to generate complex shapes.

Conditions Governing Access

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by Mrs Enriqueta Rylands, on behalf of the John Rylands Library, in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan, project archivist, and Elizabeth Gow, with reference to A Brief History of Ornamental Turning at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jeharr/history.htm.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (English MS 36).

Custodial History

Formerly part of the Bibliotheca Lindesiana, the Library of the Earls of Crawford and Balcarres, from Haigh Hall, Wigan, Lancashire.