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.