Science & Mathematics
The Museum's collections hold thousands of objects related to chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, and other sciences. Instruments range from early American telescopes to lasers. Rare glassware and other artifacts from the laboratory of Joseph Priestley, the discoverer of oxygen, are among the scientific treasures here. A Gilbert chemistry set of about 1937 and other objects testify to the pleasures of amateur science. Artifacts also help illuminate the social and political history of biology and the roles of women and minorities in science.
The mathematics collection holds artifacts from slide rules and flash cards to code-breaking equipment. More than 1,000 models demonstrate some of the problems and principles of mathematics, and 80 abstract paintings by illustrator and cartoonist Crockett Johnson show his visual interpretations of mathematical theorems.
"Science & Mathematics - Overview" showing 1 items.
- This is the U.S. patent model for a cylindrical slide rule invented by George Fuller (1829–1907), a British civil engineer and professor of engineering at Queen's College, Belfast. Fuller received patents in Great Britain (no. 1044) in 1878 and in the United States in 1879. W. F. Stanley of London manufactured the rule from 1879 until 1975, and it was marketed in the United States by Keuffel & Esser, Dietzgen, and other dealers.
- The model has a wooden handle and shaft, with a wooden cylinder that slides up and down the shaft. A paper covered with scales fits around the cylinder. The lower edge of the cylinder has a scale of equal parts. The remainder bears a spiral scale divided logarithmically. A rectangular clear plastic pointer has broken from its attachment on the handle and is tucked into a red ribbon tied around the cylinder. A paper patent tag is marked: No. 291.246; 1879 (/) G. Fuller. (/) Calculators. (/) Patented Sept 2. (/) 1879. A printed description from the patent application of April 16, 1878, is glued to the back of the tag. The tag is attached to the handle with a red ribbon.
- L. Leland Locke, a New York mathematics teacher and historian of mathematics, collected this patent model and intended it for the Museums of the Peaceful Arts in New York City. When that institution encountered financial difficulties in 1940, Locke gave a collection of objects, including this model, to the Smithsonian Institution.
- For production models of this instrument, see MA*313751, MA*316575, and 1998.0046.01.
- References: George Fuller, "Improvement in Calculators" (U.S. Patent 219,246 issued September 2, 1879); The Report of the President of Queen's College, Belfast, for the Year Ending October, 1876 (Dublin, 1877), 9, 29–30, 107–110; James J. Fenton, "Fuller's Calculating Slide-Rule," Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 22 (1886): 57–61; Dieter von Jezierski, Slide Rules: A Journey Through Three Centuries, trans. Rodger Shepherd (Mendham, N.J.: Astragal Press, 2000), 42–43.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Fuller, George
- Fuller, George
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- accession number
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- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center