Bow Compass with Pen Point

This steel drawing compass has a hexagonal brass handle. The width of the instrument is adjusted with a small brass nut on the outside of the leg with the needle point. A second screw adjusts the width of the pen point. This object resembles the bow compasses made by Stanley around 1860 that are depicted in Michael Scott Scott, Drawing Instruments (Haverfordwest, UK: Shire Publications Ltd., 1986), 10.
Reference: J. F. Heather, Mathematical Instruments: Their Construction, Adjustment, Testing, and Use, rev. ed. (London: Crosby Lockwood and Co., 1870), i:15–16.
Currently not on view
Object Name
bow pen
compass, drawing
pen, bow
date made
ca 1860
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 7.5 cm x 2 cm x .8 cm; 2 15/16 in x 25/32 in x 5/16 in
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
catalog number
Science & Mathematics
Drawing Instruments
Dividers and Compasses
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Dividers and Compasses
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Ruth A. Ming

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