Current Meter Register

In 1887, an American hydraulic engineer named Clemens Herschel described a water meter based the principle that the Italian engineer, Giovanni Battista Venturi, had articulated `in the 1790s. Examples of Herschel’s meter made by the Builders Iron Foundry in Providence, R.I., were soon installed in numerous large water-works systems. Many were equipped with a mechanical registering device developed by Frederick Connet, the chief engineer of that organization, and his colleague, Walter W. Jackson.
This early example of Connet’s register is marked “VENTURI METER MANUFACTURED BY BUILDERS IRON FOUNDRY, PROVIDENCE, R. I.” A successor firm, Builders-Providence, Inc., donated it to the Smithsonian in 1957. It measures 68 inches high, 22 inches wide, 20 inches deep, and weighs 200 pounds.
In 1899, in recognition of their achievements in this regard, the Franklin Institute awarded the Elliott-Cresson gold medal to Herschel, and the John Scott legacy premium and medal to Connet and Jackson.
Ref: Frederick N. Connet and Walter W. Jackson, “Integrating Apparatus,” U.S. Patent 529,365 (1894).
Builders Iron Foundry, The Venturi Meter patented by Clemens Herschel (Providence, R.I., 1898).
"The Venturi Meter," Journal of the Franklin Institute 147 (1899): 108-145.
Object Name
current meter register
date made
ca 1900
Builders Iron Foundry
overall: 68 in x 22 in x 20 in; 172.72 cm x 55.88 cm x 50.8 cm
place made
United States: Rhode Island, Providence
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
Builders-Providence, Inc.
Additional Media

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