Coradi Model 32 Rolling Sphere Planimeter Sold by F. Weber & Co.

This planimeter moves on two German silver rollers. The roller on the left rotates a steel wheel that in turn rotates an axle, which turns the measuring wheel and registering dial. The measuring wheel has a vernier. All three parts are made of white plastic. A piece of leather on a string is placed between the steel wheel and the axle when the instrument is stored.
The twelve-inch rectangular German silver tracer arm is attached to a bronzed brass carriage below the measuring wheel and between the rollers. It has a brass tracer with steel point and support. The length of the arm is adjustable, and it is evenly divided to 0.5mm and numbered from 10 to 64. An extension for the tracer arm adds ten inches to its length and is numbered from 65 to 110.
Above the roller on the left is marked: F. Weber & Co (/) Philadelphia. Above the roller on the right is marked: G. Coradi, Zürich (/) Switzerland (/) No 3811. An oblong German silver testing rule is marked for 0", 1", 2", 3", and 4". It is also marked: G. Coradi. Zurich.
A fitted wooden case covered with black morocco leather is lined with purple velvet. A brush is in the corner of the case. A printed calibration chart glued inside the lid has columns for Scales, Position of the vernier on the tracer bar, and Value of the unit of the vernier on the measuring roller. The values in the Position column are handwritten. A paragraph explains how to effectively use and care for the instrument. The date on the chart indicates that the Coradi firm made serial number 3,811 on May 14, 1914. Another piece of paper glued inside the lid explains how to safely remove the instrument from the case. The case's key is on a string inside the case.
The Zurich workshop of Gottlieb Coradi (1847–1929) made a variety of planimeters, beginning in the early 1880s, with the rolling sphere form debuting around 1900. According to a 1915 catalog, Coradi sold this size of rolling sphere planimeter as model 32. F. Weber & Company was founded in Philadelphia in 1853 and took that name in 1887. It is best known for manufacturing and distributing art products. Other American firms, such as Keuffel & Esser, also distributed Coradi's precision disc planimeter. K&E sold this size as model 4262 for $95.00 from 1900 to 1915. Compare to MA*333660. 1977.0112.02 is an instruction manual.
References: J. W. Beardsley, "Description and Theory of Coradi's Rolling Ball Planimeter," Journal of the Association of Engineering Societies 28 (1902): 67–77; J. Y. Wheatley, The Polar Planimeter and Its Use in Engineering Calculations (New York: Keuffel & Esser, 1903), chapter 10,; Mathematical-Mechanical Institute of G. Coradi, Catalogue of Mathematical Precision Instruments (Zurich, 1915), 13–17; "About Us," Martin/F. Weber Co.,; Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser, 30th ed. (New York, 1900), 308; Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser, 35th ed. (New York, 1915), 317.
Currently not on view
Object Name
planimeter, rolling sphere
date made
F. Weber & Co.
Coradi, Gottlieb
Physical Description
german silver (overall material)
brass (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
leather (overall material)
wood (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
paper (overall material)
overall: 33.5 cm x 25.3 cm x 10 cm; 13 3/16 in x 9 31/32 in x 3 15/16 in
place made
Schweiz: Zürich, Zurich
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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