Price Water Current Meter

William Gunn Price designed his first water current meter in 1882 and, while the form was quite successful, improvements were soon forthcoming. This example was made in the U.S. Geological Survey shops around 1908 and transferred to the Smithsonian in 1916. It has a four-blade rudder, a wheel with six conical buckets, and a new form of yoke. It records every fifth revolution of the wheel. It is 15 inches long and marked simply “785.” And it seems to be the prototype for the Model 621 penta meter manufactured by W. & L. E. Gurley in Troy, N.Y.
Ref: Arthur H. Frazier, William Gunn Price and the Price Current Meters (Washington, D.C., 1967), p. 60.
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.
W. & L. E. Gurley, Price List of Civil Engineers and Surveyors Instruments (Troy, N.Y., 1912), p. 105.
Currently not on view
Object Name
water current meter
date made
ca 1908
overall: 15 in; 38.1 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Measuring & Mapping
Water Currents
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Water Currents
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
U.S. Geological Survey

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