Compass and Divider in Case

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This six-inch German silver instrument opens into a double "V" shape. It has a cylindrical handle, thumbscrews for removing the point attachments, and thumbscrews for adjusting the points. The legs may be fitted with any combination of two needle points, two lengthening bars, and a pen point. The pencil point is missing. The lengthening bars extend the compass horizontally to a width of 9-3/4", allowing the instrument to function as a beam compass.
Almost all of the pieces are engraved with the number 61, except for one needle point, one lengthening bar, and the pen point, which are each engraved with the number 60. A rectangular leather-covered case is lined with black velvet. A label on the bottom of the case is largely worn away, but it appears to have been marked: MADE IN GERMANY. Compare to 1978.2110.05.
Currently not on view
date made
early 20th century
place made
Physical Description
german silver (overall material)
wood (overall material)
leather (overall material)
velvet (overall material)
steel (overall material)
overall: 17.7 cm x 10 cm x 2 cm; 6 31/32 in x 3 15/16 in x 25/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Ruth A. Ming
Drawing Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Dividers and Compasses
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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