Set of Drawing Instruments

This large wooden case is lined with yellow silk and velvet. The inside of the case is marked: R. H. HRONIK. A wooden tray lifts out and holds:
1) 8-1/8" German silver and steel proportional dividers, marked for lines from 1/10 to 11/12 and for circles from 7 to 20.
2) 5-1/4" German silver dotting pen with clear plastic handle.
3) 5-1/4" German silver and steel drawing pen with black plastic handle. The tightening screw is marked: POST'S (/) GERMANY. The Frederick Post Company of Chicago began importing and distributing drawing instruments and slide rules in 1890.
4) 4" German silver and steel dividers with removable points and needle and pencil point attachments.
5) Four pencil leads, ranging from 1-1/2" to 4-1/4". The longest is marked: L. & C. HARDTMUTH, Inc. KOH-I-NOOR 3H. Joseph Hardtmuth began making earthenware in Vienna, Austria, in 1790 and expanded into graphite leads in 1802. The firm moved to České Budějovice, now in the Czech Republic, in 1848 and concentrated exclusively on pencils from 1870. It remains in business as of 2013 as Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth.
6) 6-1/4" German silver and steel dividers with removable points and extension bar, dotting point, pencil point, needle point, and pen point attachments.
7) 7-1/4"metal trammel bar for a beam compass, with two 7" extensions, divider point, pen point, two pencil points, and screw-on needle point.
8) Key with metal tag engraved on one side: R. H. HRONIK. The other side is engraved: DRAFTING SET.
9) 3" ivory, German silver, and steel bow compass missing both needle points.
10) 5-1/4" German silver and steel tripod fixed-leg dividers.
11) 1-1/2" cylindrical metal case with five pieces of pencil leads and 1-3/8" cylindrical metal case with six pencil leads.
12) 1-3/8" loose steel needle point.
Empty spaces in the tray indicate that at least the following items are missing from the set: 5" dividers, 3-1/2" bow pencil, 3-1/2" bow pen, trammel point, 5" drawing pen, and 4" ruling pen. Additionally, the two pens in the tray are shorter than their slots and so likely are replacements. A piece of paper in the bottom tray has a handwritten note in ink that was probably prepared by Smithsonian staff: R. H. HRONIK (/) part of same (/) accession (/) late 1890's (/) not later than 1902.
The donor, Richard H. Hronik (1911–2003), was born in St. Louis to Joseph J. (1888–1972) and Gladys Hronik. He grew up in Cedar Rapids, Ia., and graduated from Iowa State College in 1934, where he belonged to the Alpha Mu chapter of Theta Chi fraternity. He was a major in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1946. He held a number of patents in transportation engineering and did design work relating to railroad systems built for the Indian government. By 1962, he worked for Melpar, Inc., located in Falls Church, Va., as a materials science engineer. He gave at least 129 pieces of electronics equipment; drafting, woodworking, and machine tools; and calculating machines to the Smithsonian in at least three separate accessions.
The set may have been owned by Hronik's grandfather, Frank Hronik (1860–about 1939), who was born in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic), moved to Cedar Rapids in 1884, and by 1900 was a railroad machinist for the Burlington, Cedar Rapids, and Northern Railway, which was succeeded by the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railway in 1903. In 1887 he married Mary Hronik, who was born in Bohemia in 1864 and brought to this country by her parents in 1867.
Reference: Koh-i-noor Hardtmuth, "History,"
Currently not on view
Currently not on view
Object Name
drawing instruments, set of
date made
ca 1900
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
german silver (overall material)
steel (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
ivory (overall material)
overall: 7.6 cm x 31.7 cm x 21.5 cm; 3 in x 12 15/32 in x 8 15/32 in
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 Richard H. Hronik

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