A cathetometer is an upright ruler with a telescope that precisely measures the vertical difference between two points. The form was introduced in Paris around 1815 and the name around 1847. The U.S. Military Academy, which originally owned this example, acquired much of its physics apparatus from Paris.
Ref: D. J. Warner, “Cathetometers and Precision Measurement: The History of an Upright Ruler,” Rittenhouse 7 (1993): 65–75.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
overall: 54 1/4 in; 137.795 cm
overall: 58 in x 30 in x 30 in; 147.32 cm x 76.2 cm x 76.2 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Science & Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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