Splining Set by Keuffel & Esser Company

<< >>
Description
A splining set was used to draw curves by adjusting the weights or "ducks" holding flexible splines. This case contains four painted lead weights, six wooden splines, and three plastic splines. The splines are narrow, flat rods, with a groove along one edge. The wooden ones are 12", 24", 30", 36" (two), and 48" long. These are marked:
12" - KEUFFEL&ESSER N.Y. 12
24" - KEUFFEL&ESSER N.Y. 24
30" - KEUFFEL&ESSER N.Y. 30
36" - KEUFFEL&ESSER N.Y. 36 (one of the 36” curves is in two pieces)
48" - KEUFFEL&ESSER N.Y. 48
There is a space for an 18" wooden spline, but no spline.
The black plastic splines are marked as follows:
27 1/2" no mark
21 1/4" KEUFFEL & ESSER N.Y. 30
12 5/8" KEUFFEL
These plastic splines are notched along the grooved edge. They are stored in 18", 24" and 30" slots. There are empty slots for 12" and 42" plastic splines. One duck is missing the finger that would fit into a groove of a spline.
Keuffel & Esser Company was selling splines and weights by 1890 and splining sets by 1906. Sets with plastic rather than hard rubber splines sold from 1909. By 1927, Keuffel & Esser did not offer a cased set of splines. Hence the rough date of 1915 assigned to this splining set.
George A. Beiser, the donor of this splining set, used splines while working at Bell Aircraft during World War II. He was designing aircraft canopies (the plastic hoods over pilot compartments). After the war, Beiser toured American universities, explain what he had done at Bell aircraft and seen on European travels. He bought this splining kit at an estate sale and used it in these demonstrations (he didn’t use it during World War II).
References:
Accession file.
Keuffel & Esser Company, Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser, New York, 1890, p. 137, 151. This catalog included splines in pear wood and hard rubber as well as weights in iron and lead. It did not include plastic splines or a cased instrument. The discussion of splines and weights was the same in the 1892 catalog (even to the page numbers). Catalog numbers were 1835 (hard rubber splines), 2185 (pear wood splines), 2186 (lead weights) and 2187 (iron weights).
Keuffel & Esser Company, Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser, New York, 1906, p. 215, 223, 242. Splines in hard rubber, pear wood, and Xylonite. No splining sets.
Keuffel & Esser Company, Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser, New York, 1909, p. 209, 226. Catalog offers black Xylonite splines in seven sizes (#1859B) and pear wood splines in seven sizes (#2185). Weights available in lead (#2186 and 2186-1) and iron (#2187). Set of splines and spline weights in wooden box includes four of the lighter lead weights, six Xylonite splines (12, 18, 24, 30, 36, and 42 inches), and six wooden splines (12, 18, 24, 30, 36, and 48 inches).
Keuffel & Esser Company, Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser, New York, 1921, p. 153. Splines offered in black Xylonite (#1859 B) and wood (#2185). Lead weights offered in two weights (#2186 and #2186-1). Set of splines and spline weights in wooden box includes four of the lighter lead weights, five Xylonite splines (24, 30, 36, 42 and 48 inches), and three wooden splines (30, 48, and 60 inches).
Keuffel & Esser Company, Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser, New York, 1927, p. 227. No splining sets, splines only in Xylonite.
Keuffel & Esser Company, Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser, New York, 1936, p. 238. Splines offered only in Xylonite (#1934). Lead weights offered in two weights (#1936 and 1936-1, old #2186 and 2186-1). No splining sets.
date made
ca 1915
place made
United States: New York, New York
Physical Description
wood (splines, case material)
plastic (splines material)
metal (ducks material)
Measurements
overall: 7.8 cm x 125.3 cm x 19.5 cm; 3 1/16 in x 49 11/32 in x 7 11/16 in
ID Number
1992.0346.01
accession number
1992.0346
catalog number
1992.0346.01
Credit Line
Gift of George A. Beiser
subject
Mathematics
Drawing Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Curves
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

Comments

Add a comment about this object