Set of Drawing Instruments

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
Currently not on view
Object Name
drawing instruments, set of
date made
ca 1870
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
place made
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Science & Mathematics
Drafting, Engineering
Drawing Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Drawing Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of C. C. Hostrup
Additional Media

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