Price Water Current Meter

William Gunn Price, of the U.S. Corps of Engineers, designed an exceptionally successful current meter in 1882, obtained a patent, and asked W. & L. E. Gurley, a large mathematical instrument firm in Troy, N.Y., to undertake commercial production. Following suggestions made by hydrographers who worked with Price’s early meters, Edwin Geary Paul, a mechanic with the U.S. Geological Survey, designed what became known as the Small Price Current Meter. This example, marked “U.S.G.S.,” is a further stage in that development. It is 14.5 inches long. It has a four-blade rudder, and a wheel with six conical buckets. The Geological Survey transferred it to the Smithsonian in 1916
Ref: William Gunn Price, “Current Meter,” U.S. Patent 325011 (1885).
Arthur H. Frazier, William Gunn Price and the Price Current Meters (Washington, D.C., 1967), p. 59.
Arthur H. Frazier, Water Current Meters in the Smithsonian Collections of the National Museum of History and Technology (Washington, D.C., 1974), pp. 78-87.
Currently not on view
Object Name
water current meter
date made
ca 1900
overall: 14 1/2 in; 36.83 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Water Currents
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
U.S. Geological Survey

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