Dividers & CompassesCompasses
One characteristic of the compasses in the collection is the variety of ornamentation molded into their metal parts. More often than the instruments on the other pages, compasses were manufactured in the United States, and Americans received patents for adding innovations to the instrument. Several of the objects below were used in schools, and some were even designed to prevent schoolchildren from poking themselves and each other. This page also contains spare parts for compasses.
"Dividers & Compasses - Compasses" showing 1 items.
- The handle on this metal instrument is connected to the point and can be pulled out of the cylinder that is the compass's main leg. The other leg is screwed to the cylinder with a metal slat. A screw goes through this leg and can be loosened or tightened to adjust the radius of a circle drawn with the compass. A second screw adjusts the tube that holds a pencil point. Draftsmen used the hairspring compass to precisely draw small circles.
- Keuffel & Esser, an American maker and dealer of slide rules and drawing instruments, donated this object to the Smithsonian in 1971. Part of a paper tag received with the object has been lost, but the remaining portion suggests this instrument may have come from Leipzig, Germany. None of the compasses offered in K&E catalogs in 1909, 1921, or 1936 resemble this instrument.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- ca 1900
- Keuffel & Esser Co.
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center