Patent Model for Cylindrical Slide Rule Invented by George Fuller

This is the U.S. patent model for a cylindrical slide rule invented by George Fuller (1829–1907), a British civil engineer and professor of engineering at Queen's College, Belfast. Fuller received patents in Great Britain (no. 1044) in 1878 and in the United States in 1879. W. F. Stanley of London manufactured the rule from 1879 until 1975, and it was marketed in the United States by Keuffel & Esser, Dietzgen, and other dealers.
The model has a wooden handle and shaft, with a wooden cylinder that slides up and down the shaft. A paper covered with scales fits around the cylinder. The lower edge of the cylinder has a scale of equal parts. The remainder bears a spiral scale divided logarithmically. A rectangular clear plastic pointer has broken from its attachment on the handle and is tucked into a red ribbon tied around the cylinder. A paper patent tag is marked: No. 291.246; 1879 (/) G. Fuller. (/) Calculators. (/) Patented Sept 2. (/) 1879. A printed description from the patent application of April 16, 1878, is glued to the back of the tag. The tag is attached to the handle with a red ribbon.
L. Leland Locke, a New York mathematics teacher and historian of mathematics, collected this patent model and intended it for the Museums of the Peaceful Arts in New York City. When that institution encountered financial difficulties in 1940, Locke gave a collection of objects, including this model, to the Smithsonian Institution.
For production models of this instrument, see MA*313751, MA*316575, and 1998.0046.01.
References: George Fuller, "Improvement in Calculators" (U.S. Patent 219,246 issued September 2, 1879); The Report of the President of Queen's College, Belfast, for the Year Ending October, 1876 (Dublin, 1877), 9, 29–30, 107–110; James J. Fenton, "Fuller's Calculating Slide-Rule," Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 22 (1886): 57–61; Dieter von Jezierski, Slide Rules: A Journey Through Three Centuries, trans. Rodger Shepherd (Mendham, N.J.: Astragal Press, 2000), 42–43.
Currently not on view
Object Name
calculating rule
slide rule
date made
Fuller, George
Fuller, George
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
plastic (cursor material)
paper (part material)
overall: 4.2 cm x 24.5 cm x 4.2 cm; 1 21/32 in x 9 21/32 in x 1 21/32 in
place made
United Kingdom: Northern Ireland, Belfast
made at
United Kingdom: Northern Ireland, Belfast
place patented
United States: District of Columbia, Washington
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Patent Models
Rule, Calculating
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Mathematical Association of America Objects
Slide Rules
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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