American Schaeffer & Budenberg Amsler Polar Planimeter

This nickel-plated instrument forms a U and is hinged around a brass measuring wheel and vernier. A cylindrical weight fits over a peg at the end of the pole arm. The plating has worn away from the handle for the tracer point. The tracer arm is stamped with a serial number: 5337. An oblong wooden case covered with black leather is lined with dark blue velvet. The top of the case is marked: AMERICAN (/) SCHAEFFER & BUDENBERG. These words are in an oval around the company logo of a globe and the words: BROOKLYN, N.Y. A torn red and white sticker on the bottom of the case originally read: UNIVERSITY OF (/) CINCINNATI (/) 33893. Compare to 1981.0301.03 and 1981.0301.04.
In 1923 the American Steam Gauge & Valve Manufacturing Company, the Hohmann-Nelson Company, and the American division of the Schäffer & Budenberg Manufacturing Company merged to form American Schaeffer & Budenberg Corporation. The first and third companies were known for their planimeters as well as their steam-engine indicators, but American had made this particular instrument since the late 19th century, while Schäffer & Budenberg was associated with the Coffin planimeter. See MA*323706. The merged firm may have been purchased by Manning, Maxwell, and Moore in the late 1930s. The department of mechanical engineering laboratory at the University of Cincinnati owned this instrument.
References: Barry Lee David, The Antique American Steam Gauge: A Collector's Guide (Mendham, N.J.: Astragal Press, 2003); American Steam Gauge Company, catalog (Boston, 1896), 130–135.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
after 1923
American Steam Gauge & Valve Mfg. Co.
Physical Description
nickel (overall material)
brass (overall material)
wood (overall material)
leather (overall material)
cloth (overall material)
case: 3.7 cm x 17 cm x 5.3 cm; 1 15/32 in x 6 11/16 in x 2 3/32 in
place made
United States: New York, Brooklyn
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Science & Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of University of Cincinnati Department of Mechanical Engineering
Additional Media

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