Ruled Surface with Chrome Frame, Two Perpendicular Elliptic Cylinders

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This ruled surface has a chrome frame, with equal and opposite ellipses on the top and bottom and a ring of holes around both edges. Vertical red threads join these holes to form an elliptic cylinder. Two opposite sides of the frame also have equal and opposite elliptical rings, with holes around the edges of the rings. These circles are joined by horizontal yellow threads to form another right elliptical cylinder, perpendicular to the first one.
This is one of eight models of rules surfaces having a chrome frame given to the Smithsonian by Brown University (see MA.304722.35 through MA.304722.42). All these models are unsigned. Models of this general appearance were shown by Saul Pollock of Indiana State Teacher’s College in Terre Haute, Indiana, at the Century of Progress world’s fair, held in Chicago in 1934. A. Harry Wheeler, a mathematics teacher and maker of geometric models, visited the fair and noted Pollock’s models. Wheeler also communicated with mathematicians at Brown, and exhibited some of his models there. The models might be by Pollock, they might be copies by Wheeler.
Century of Progress, Official Handbook of Exhibits in the Division of the Basic Sciences Hall of Science, Chicago, 1934, p. 39-40, 43.
P.A. Kidwell, “American Mathematics Viewed Objectively: The Case of Geometric Models,” Vita Mathematica, ed. Ronald Calinger, Washington, DC: Mathematical Association of America, 1996, pp. 197-207.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1934
Physical Description
chrome (overall material)
thread (overall material)
overall: 30.7 cm x 21 cm x 21 cm; 12 3/32 in x 8 9/32 in x 8 9/32 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Brown University Department of Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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