Rotary Measure, U.S. Patent Office Model

This small U.S. Patent Office model for a counter has the shape of an old-fashioned door key, with a dial protruding from the middle. A screw attached to a nozzle links to a shaft and rotates the dial. The edge of this dial is divided into 100 parts, which are labeled by 10s. A fixed pointer screwed to the middle of the dial indicates its reading. A second nozzle is tied to the object. The object illustrates the patent for “An Improvement in Rotary Devices” (#182,177) taken out by Daniel Davis Jr. and Edward Wright on September 12, 1876. There is no patent model tag.
Daniel Davis Jr. (1844-1919) was the son of Massachusetts instrument maker Daniel Davis (1813-1887). The elder Davis retired from Boston to his home town of Princeton, Mass., in 1852 to farm. Some time after 1870, the younger Daniel Davis moved to Worcester, where he worked as a brass founder and took out a patent for water filters with one Benaiah Fitts.
Edward Wright was born in New York around 1834. He patented an improvement in pickers for looms in September 1867. He received another patent for improvement in self-acting mules for spinning in February 1870. In September 1876 Wright and Davis received the U.S. patent for improvement in rotary measures for which this object is the model.. Both men were then living in Worcester.
Daniel Davis Jr. and Benaiah Fitts, "Improvement in Water-Filters," U.S. Patent 146442, January 13, 1874.
Edward Wright, “Improvement in Pickers for Looms.” U.S. Patent 69880, 16 September 1867.
Edward Wright, “Improvement in Self-Acting Mules for Spinning.” U.S. Patent 99511, 1 February 1870.
Edward Wright and Daniel Davis Jr., “Improvement in Rotary Measures.” U.S. Patent 182177, 12 September 1879.
U.S. Census, 1860, 1870, 1880.
Web site of the Princeton, Mass., Historical Society,
Currently not on view
date made
date patented
Davis, Jr., Daniel
Wright, Edward
place patented
United States: Massachusetts, Worcester
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
overall: 1 cm x 9.4 cm x 5.4 cm; 13/32 in x 3 11/16 in x 2 1/8 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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