It looks like an English (mis?)spelling of the French "porte-crayon", or (drawing) pencil holder.
James Landau wrote:
>The following question was posted on another list. I will forward all >replies posted to HM or sent directly to me. > > - James A. Landau > > > > >>Date: Sun, 5 Feb 2006 13:20:23 -0500 >>From: "Joel S. Berson" <Berson@ATT.NET> >>Subject: Q: "portagraion" -- a "mathematical instrument" circa 1745? >> >>What is a "portagraion", in the following quotation from 1745? I've >>done my best in OED2 and googling with various possible >>spellings. The mention just before of drawing pens suggests >>"pantograph", but that's not close to what I see. >> >> > > > >>Stephen Greenleaf, Mathematical Instrument-Maker...;Makes and mends >>all Sorts of Mathematical Instruments, as Theodolites, Spirit Levels, >>Semicircles, Circumferences, and Protractors, Horizontal and >>Equinoctal [sic] Sun Dials, Asimuth and Amplitude Compasses, >>Elliptical and Triangular Compasses, and all Sorts of common >>Compasses, drawing Pens and Portagraions...; with sundry other >>Articles too tedious to mention. >>
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