Dietzgen D1803D Compensating Polar Planimeter

This metal polar planimeter has a white plastic measuring wheel with vernier and a metal registering dial on the 5" tracer arm. The tracer arm is marked on top: DIETZGEN (/) MADE IN U.S.A. Next to the tracer point, it is marked: 22812. The other arm is 8" long and screwed to a cylindrical metal weight.
A beige plastic case is lined with deteriorating gray foam padding. A label inside the case is marked: DIETZGEN (/) PLANIMETER No. D1803D (/) TEST RULE 12.50 SQ. IN. Serial No. 22812. A chart has columns for Scale, Value of unit of vernier, Constant: Pole inside figure, and Pole Arm Setting. Only the first row of the chart (for the scale 1" = 100') is completed. The case fits inside a beige cardboard box with a black, yellow, and white label: DEITZGEN One Only (/) Compensating (/) POLAR PLANIMETER (/) In Velvet Lined Case, with Testing Rule (/) and Directions D1803D.
In the 1920s, the Eugene Dietzgen Company of Chicago sold a planimeter similar to this one as model 1804. By the 1950s, the planimeter was renumbered to model D1803D and offered in the wooden case with velvet lining mentioned on the label on this example. Later, the plastic and foam case replaced the wooden case. "Dietzgen" is stamped rather than printed on the label inside this case, suggesting that another company made the planimeter and Dietzgen distributed it. This object was found in the Museum in 1984.
Reference: Catalog of Eugene Dietzgen Co., 12th ed. (Chicago, 1926), 182.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1960
Eugene Dietzgen Company
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
foam (overall material)
paper (overall material)
overall: 4.5 cm x 26.2 cm x 12 cm; 1 25/32 in x 10 5/16 in x 4 23/32 in
place made
United States: Illinois, Chicago
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.