A First World War Cavalry Sketching board, made by Aston & Mander of Soho, London, c.1914, patent No. 13508. Various other designs of Cavalry sketching board were being produced around this time, including those by Lt-Col. Willoughby Verner, J. H. Steward, and Houghton's. The compass at the top of the board is signed by Aston & Mander, with the board being marked with both its patent number and 'Aston & Mander Ltd, Makers, London'. The board is very well made, of high quality wood and brass, and features a leather wrist strap on the rear. It comes complete with a roll of sketching paper.
The Cavalry Sketching Board: was originally designed by Colonel W. H. Richards, who taught military surveying at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst c.1880. The board was improved by Willoughby Verner who was also briefly Professor of Topography at Sandhurst. Verner patented his own improvements in 1887 and 1891 and the board became known as Verner's. W. J. Bosworth patented further improvements in 1897, and versions of the board remained in use until around 1930.
Cavalry Sketching Boards were designed to be strapped to the arm of a cavalryman on the bridle arm. The board was attached to the arm by a leather strap with a swivel joint. This enabled the user to twist the whole board on their arm to align the compass accurately. The board incorporated a compass for taking bearings, and the sketch was made on a paper roll which was wound around one of the side rollers. As a sketch was completed, the paper roll was advanced to supply more paper. During WW1 the sketching board was often used by pilots and observers of the Royal Flying Corps to make sketches of enemy positions and trenches.
Aston & Mander Ltd: The company was established in 1779. By 1914 they were wholesale and export suppliers of mathematical drawing, and surveying and scientific instrument manufacturers. They specialised in tailors' squares, every kind of mathematical scales, rules etc., tailors' and cloth merchants' tools; anthropological and height measuring instruments, scholastic geometrical sets and appliances, brewers' and gaugers' instruments. The company employed around 60 people and supplied scientific instruments to British armed forces in both world wars.
The sketching board and compass are in very good condition and full working order. There is some minor wear to the original leather wrist strap. Complete with a roll of field sketching paper.
Dimensions : Board: 180mm x 250mm, Compass: 30mm diameter