Geometric Model by A. Harry Wheeler, Model for the Pythagorean Theorem

This is A. Harry Wheeler’s visual representation of the Pythagorean Theorem. The wooden base has a right triangle at the center with square holes cut out along each side of the triangle. The two vertices of the triangle next to the long side are cut out so that metal filings can run from the smaller squares into the larger one. A clear plastic top and bottom hold the filings within the model. In theory, one can fill either the large square or the two smaller squares with filings—according to the Pythagorean Theorem, the area of the large square is the sum of the area of the small ones.
The model is unsigned and undated.
Currently not on view
Object Name
geometric model
date made
Wheeler, Albert Harry
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
tan (overall color)
black (overall color)
cut and screwed (overall production method/technique)
average spatial: .8 cm x 15 cm x 15 cm; 5/16 in x 5 29/32 in x 5 29/32 in
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Worcester
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Science & Mathematics
Mathematical Association of America Objects
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Mathematical Association of America Objects
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Helen M. Wheeler
Additional Media

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