Set of Bow Compasses

This small square wooden case is covered with black leather and lined with maroon and black velvet. The latch is opened by pushing on it with a metal rod. Inside the case are 3" bow dividers, bow pen, and bow pencil, all made of German silver with ivory handles. These may be the only bow compasses with rounded ivory handles in the collections. W. F. Stanley of London sold sets of bow compasses from about 1850 to 1940, but the handles were designed differently. Comparing these instruments to others received in the same accession suggests they were made in the late 19th century.
Currently not on view
Currently not on view
date made
late 19th century
Physical Description
german silver (overall material)
ivory (overall material)
leather (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
wood (overall material)
overall: 2 cm x 9.5 cm x 3 cm; 25/32 in x 3 3/4 in x 1 3/16 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Ruth A. Ming
Dividers and Compasses
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Drawing Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History


Add a comment about this object