Counter Associated with Telephone Poles

This special-purpose instrument consists of a wooden box, 27 counters arranged in three rows that fit in the box, and a reddish plastic cover. The cover has 27 round holes that expose the punches that drive the counters. Twenty-seven rectangular holes reveal the five-digit reading of the counters. Between the counters are three metal slots that hold paper labels for the different counters. The labels are marked in pencil or typed.
The slip of paper in the lowest metal slot has marks that read: GUYS (/) Head / Anchors (/) Earth / Rock / Bolt, and: Double Arms / Brace / Transposition / Light. (/) Rod. These terms may refer to properties of telephone poles. The pencil markings on the paper slips above the top two rows of counters are very hard to decipher.
The object was transferred to the Smithsonian from the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1962.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1920
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
wood (overall material)
paper (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
overall: 3 cm x 27.8 cm x 15 cm; 1 3/16 in x 10 15/16 in x 5 7/8 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
Credit Line
Transfer from U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission

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