Set of Drawing Instruments

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This wooden case has a mahogany veneer and is lined with blue paper and velvet. A brass plate on the lid is not marked. A compartment inside the lid has a holder for a protractor (not present) and a white label marked: MÉDAILLE D'ARGENT (/) Marque de Fabrique (/) EXPOSITION DE PARIS 1867. A blue and white label on the inside bottom of the case is marked: No. 14 (/) 7–2.
The bottom also holds: a piece of white tissue paper; two pencil leads; 4-3/8" brass and steel dividers with removable leg, pencil point, and extension bar; pen point that fits the 6" dividers in the tray; a 5-3/4" wooden French curve marked with a sphinx; and a 5-1/2" wooden triangle marked in the corners: 90, 67 [1/]2, 22 [1/]2.
A tray inside the case contains: 6" brass and steel dividers with a removable leg, pencil point attachment, and extension bar; 4-1/2" brass and steel fixed-leg dividers; 3-3/8" brass and steel compass with removable leg, pricker point, and pen and pencil attachments; a pen point that nearly fits the 4-3/8" dividers; two metal joint tighteners; and a 5-1/4" steel, German silver, and ivory drawing pen.
It is unclear which European firm won a silver medal at the 1867 Paris Exposition for the entire set or an instrument within it. This example was likely first sold soon after the fair and before the next major competition for makers of scientific instruments, such as Havre in 1869 or Vienna in 1873. The Smithsonian received the object in 1963.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1870
place made
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
brass (overall material)
steel (overall material)
paper (overall material)
overall: 4.4 cm x 20.1 cm x 12.2 cm; 1 23/32 in x 7 29/32 in x 4 13/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of C. C. Hostrup
Drafting, Engineering
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Drawing Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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