Nobert was known for making microscopical lines (or rulings) on glass slides to a very high tolerance, so researchers used his slides to calibrate their microscopes. The machine was bought by the museum but was transferred to the Bureau of Standards, which is now the National Institute of Standards and Techology.
Croydon, near London
Mar. 7 .99
To Dr. J. S. Billings
You may recollect some years ago having some correspondence with my father (the late Dr. John Mayall jun.) regarding the acquisition of Noberts Ruling Machine, but that it was not then for sale.
After my father’s death I acquired the machine, but now owing to serious domestic troubles I am closing up my home, & am writing back if you would like to purchase the machine for your museum.
My father looked upon it as one of the wonders of the mechanical world which it undoubtedly is, & thought it should be in a museum where it could be seen & appreciated.
The machine has been preserved with the utmost care, all accessories, the diamonds for the rulings, Noberts original notes, together with a translation, are all intact.
The price of the machine is L200, & if you decide to purchase it, I will have it most carefully packed.
I enclose a set of photographs showing different views of the machine, accessories etc, also a copy of the Soc. Of Arts Journal containing the paper read by my father before that society.
I am Sir
(Mrs.) L.C.E. Taylor
[the photographs were given the numbers CP 3770-3773]