Calipers, try squares, attachments to carpenters' squares, surveying instruments: all are accessories to the process of production. Like machines, they embody knowledge and skills; they help refine skills and give precision to knowledge; they partake in shaping the substance of the Earth into some useful object: a piece of machinery, a piece of furniture, a house.

The instrument carries, however, a more personal touch than the machine. It touches the workman more directly. It is an extension of her senses, a refinement of her touch; it helps keep taut the line of her attention. Generally built with exquisite care by the workman herself or by an instrument maker–the most skilled among craftsmen–it is a constant reminder of the perfection of the job to strive for. Even the items exhibited here (probably not destined for individual production, since they are patented) carry something of that aura of care and individual attention.


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