Article ID: CBB616972181

Vernier Scales and Other Early Devices for Precise Measurement (2011)


Vernier scales on undergraduate teaching instruments such as calipers and spectrometers are being replaced by digital readouts, so students encounter Vernier scales less often. But students are often impressed by the results achievable by such a simple device, that such a simple idea escaped realization until the 17th century, and that, four centuries later, it has still not been completely superseded. Why do science and engineering still use a technology essentially unchanged since the 1630s? The Vernier scale’s success and its decline can be under-stood by examining how it relates to other devices with which it competes. This article surveys early technologies for precision length and angle measurement as a resource for teachers and students interested in the Vernier scale’s origins,competitors, and long success.

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Authors & Contributors
Di Lorenzo, Pietro
Moretti, Maria
Lanzillotti, Rachele
Romano, Paola
Cavaliere, Maria Rosa
Petillo, Maria Candida
Science and Education
Rittenhouse: Journal of the American Scientific Instrument Enterprise
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
Istoriko-Biologicheskie Issledovaniia
Bulletin of the Scientific Instrument Society
Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences
Pavia University Press
Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft
Les Belles Lettres
Science education and teaching
Scientific apparatus and instruments
Teaching history of science
Louis XIV, King of France
Kepler, Johannes
Huygens, Christiaan
Time Periods
17th century
19th century
20th century
18th century
16th century
Naples (Italy)
United States
Académie des Sciences, Paris

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