Set of Drawing Instruments Sold by Hirshberg Art Company

This wooden case is covered with black leather and lined with blue satin and velvet. A metal sliding pin serves as a bar lock. The lid is marked: 2072. A piece of tape on the lid is marked: No. 4 (/) L. H. S. Inside the lid is marked: HIRSHBERG ART CO. (/) Baltimore, Md. Between the lines of text is the firm's logo, a stag above a ribbon with the word "TRADEMARK."
The set contains a 6" compass with bendable legs and removable pencil point, pen point, divider point, and lengthening bar; 1-3/8" cylindrical ridged metal case for pencil leads; and 5" steel and wood drawing pen. The joint tightener is missing, and the lead case is empty.
Hirshberg Art Company began to sell art and drafting supplies in Baltimore around 1900. In 1910, it offered model number 2072 for $3.00. The store was still in business in 1922. The donor's father, John William Bernard Gilbert (1901–1973), acquired the instruments as a student at Laurel (Md.) High School. He entered college in the fall of 1919, so he purchased the set before then. His father, William E. Gilbert, owned a business in Baltimore.
References: Hirshberg Art Co., Catalogue and Price List of Artists' Materials (Baltimore, 1910), 234; The Educational Red Book: A Buyer's Guide for School Superintendents, Secretaries, and Board Members (Albany, N.Y.: C. F. Williams & Son, 1922), 40; accession file.
Currently not on view
Object Name
drawing instruments, set of
date made
ca 1918
Hirshberg Art Company
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
german silver (overall material)
steel (overall material)
leather (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
overall: 2.2 cm x 18.3 cm x 8 cm; 7/8 in x 7 7/32 in x 3 5/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Science & Mathematics
Drafting, Engineering
Drawing Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Drawing Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of William E. Gilbert
Additional Media

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