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A while back, Jeff Theefield posed a challenge to find the oldest faceting design and today I think I have discovered it. In 1850, Charles Holzapffel published the book Turning and Mechanical Manipulation in London. While dissecting his chapter on cutting facets, I discovered that not only did he have a powerful impact on the faceting technology that would later be developed in America but also that he left precise faceting instructions with angles and indices for a 96 index handpiece. I have taken his drawings and written instructions and turned them into a modern diagram that I would like to share with everyone today.
Before 1820, no one was cutting with specific angle numbers and for sure no one was cutting with an index gear. It’s possible there could be an older record of precise index-based instructions from the 1820s in Geneva but I feel pretty confident that these instructions from London are the oldest. Enjoy and if you cut it, let me know. I’d love to see what it looks like.
Also, fun historical fact… The instructions that he wrote in the 1850 book were meant to be cut on this Goniostat “handpiece”, a tool that was made for making precision lathe tools, but that he adapted to facet cutting. You can see what it looks like here:
Exquisite EVANS Goniostat – 69252