Elias Allen

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A 1653 engraving of Elias Allen by Wenceslas Hollar

Elias Allen (Tonbridge c.1588 - London March 1653)[1] was an English maker of sundials and scientific instruments.

Allen was apprenticed to a London clockmaker in 1602, and after his master died established himself in a workshop beside St Clement Danes Church, the Strand.[1] He made instruments for James I and Charles I, among others, and was associated with the mathematicians Edmund Gunter and William Oughtred.[1] His apprentices included Ralph Greatorex.[1] He served from 19 January 1637 until 29 July 1638 as Master of the London Clockmakers' Company.[1] He died in March 1653, and was buried in St Clement Danes.[1]

A letter from William Oughtred to Allen dated August 20, 1638 was recently found in the Macclesfield Collection with a reverse print [2] of the earliest known Oughtred sliderule. Oughtred writes, “I have here sent you directions (as you requested me being at Twickenham) about the making of the two rulers”. He also indicates he had never actually made the rule of his designs, “would gladly see one of [the two parts of the instrument] when it is finished: wch yet I never have done”.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f H. K. Higton, 'Allen, Elias (c.1588–1653)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 accessed 6 Feb 2011
  2. ^ a b a reverse print

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