[sen-troh-lin-ee-ad, -uhd]
The Centrolinead was invented by Peter Nicholson, a British mathematician and architect, in 1814. It was used to construct 2-point perspective drawings where one or both vanishing points existed outside the drawing board. Draftsmen could use the instrument in pairs; one for each vanishing point on each side of the station point.

Centrolineads were produced in various sizes. Typically a brass fitting clamped the wooden arms together. Fittings were produced in both right and left-handed configuration, and certain adjustable designs could be used on either side.


Two short arms are set to form 90 degree angles against a third, longer drawing edge. Pins are placed near the edges of the drawing surface and serve as pivots for the arms. Pin placement is equidistant and symmetric across the horizontal line. A third centrolinead could be used to construct 3-point perspective.

Further reading

Centrolineads and their use are discussed in W.F. Stanley's book on mathematical instruments.


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