Keuffel & Esser 1758 Rolling Parallel Rule

This 18" brass instrument has rollers mounted 2-5/8" from each end and connected by a shaft with a brass cover. Both ends have knobs to hold while rolling the parallel rule over a drawing. The center top of the base is marked: KEUFFEL & ESSER Co (/) NEW YORK. The center bottom is marked: 1758. A plain wooden box has a sliding lid that is marked: Parallel (/) Rule 3. It is also marked: 18". It is also marked (facing the other direction): R. The side of the box is marked: Rolling Parallel Rule K & E – 1758 – 18".
Keuffel & Esser began to sell model number 1758 between 1881 and 1890, but there was no brass cover over the shaft and the instrument weighed only 40 oz. Between 1899 and 1906, K&E introduced the cover. The rule then weighed 54 oz. and sold for $12.00. In 1927, the company began to offer the instrument in a case covered with synthetic leather instead of in a plain wooden box.
References: Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser Co., 21st ed. (New York, 1890), 132; Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser Co., 30th ed. (New York, 1899), 196; Catalogue and Price List of Keuffel & Esser Co., 32nd ed. (New York, 1906), 211; Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser Co., 37th ed. (New York, 1927), 217.
Currently not on view
Object Name
parallel rule
date made
Keuffel & Esser Co.
Physical Description
pine (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 5.2 cm x 48 cm x 8 cm; 2 1/16 in x 18 29/32 in x 3 5/32 in
place made
United States: New York, New York
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Parallel Rules
Science & Mathematics
Drafting, Engineering
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Parallel Rules
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of James M. Gere
Additional Media

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