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Drafting set




Gilbert and Sons (1806-19)


1 in x 6 7/8 in x 2 3/4 in


Shagreen case, brass and steel instruments, paper, ebony and fruitwood

Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation

Accession Number



“J Janvier” appears in ink on the inside of lid; “Gilbert and Sons” is engraved on a semicircular protractor.


The drafting set was purchased as lot 324 at DeCaro Auction Sales, Inc., on March 14, 1992, held in Odessa, an auction that included items from the Mabel H. Beardsley estate. She was a Janvier relative.


The drafting set includes a pair of brass and ebony parallel rulers, a brass protractor for determining angles, a 6-inch drafting scale with multiple units, and ruling pens, which hold ink in the adjustable slot between the two tapered jaws.  The history of changes in the Gilbert family business of making navigational and scientific equipment enables dating of this set.  The pebbled-skin case covering is shagreen, made from the skin of sharks and rays.  It was used for a number of small, expensive objects.

The Janvier name in the lid is that of the owner.  Although initially thought to be John Jr. (1777–1850), son of John Sr. of Odessa, several other candidates lived in the area at that time.  Given its descent to Mabel Beardsley, the original owner was likely John Janvier (1785–1859) of St. George’s Hundred.  His father was Philip (1751–1822), a brother of John Sr.


Zimmerman, A Storied Past, 238-239.