Q: "portagraion" -- a "mathematical instrument" circa 1745?

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Feb 5 19:04:59 UTC 2006

>What is a "portagraion", in the following quotation from 1745?  I've
>done my best in OED2 and googling with various possible
>spellings.  The mention just before of drawing pens suggests
>"pantograph", but that's not close to what I see.
>Stephen Greenleaf, Mathematical Instrument-Maker...;Makes and mends
>all Sorts of Mathematical Instruments, as Theodolites, Spirit Levels,
>Semicircles, Circumferences, and Protractors, Horizontal and
>Equinoctal [sic] Sun Dials, Asimuth and Amplitude Compasses,
>Elliptical and Triangular Compasses, and all Sorts of common
>Compasses, drawing Pens and Portagraions...; with sundry other
>Articles too tedious to mention.

Probably = "port-crayon" (also "porto-crion") (French "porte-crayon")
meaning a crayon holder (OED). "Crayon" was sometimes spelled "craion" (OED).

-- Doug Wilson

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