Keuffel & Esser 955C Beam Compass

This German silver instrument has steel points. Two rounded tubes (4" and 13" long) may be connected with a collar on the longer tube. A holder for a pricker point is on the shorter tube. It has a cylindrical handle with a crosshatch pattern and a micrometer adjustment that may be moved along a screw extending from the holder. The handle is marked: KEUFFEL & ESSER (/) GERMA[NY].
A second holder may be placed anywhere on the tubes. It may be fitted with an adjustable pen point, a pencil point, or one of two needle points. The needle points fit into a cylindrical ridged handle, but the handle apparently cannot be attached to the tubes. A cylindrical metal case holds two pencil leads.
An oblong black leatherette case is lined with green velvet and marked on the top of the lid: KEUFFEL & ESSER CO. (/) 955. The case is in a dark green paper box with a red and white label: ANVIL BEAM COMPASSES (/) TRADE MARK K & E CO. (/) 1 ONLY 955 C (/) REG. U.S. PAT. OFF. In 1936, K&E sold the instrument and case as part of its Anvil product line for $9.50. (The C in the model number refers to the case.) The description does not mention the handle for the needle points or the tube for the pencil leads, but there are spaces for both items in the case. This instrument was not advertised in the 1927 and 1944 K&E catalogs.
Reference: Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser Co. , 38th ed. (New York, 1936), 157.
Currently not on view
Object Name
beam compass
date made
ca 1936
Keuffel & Esser Co.
Keuffel & Esser Co.
Physical Description
german silver (overall material)
steel (overall material)
velvet (overall material)
leatherette (overall material)
paper (overall material)
overall: 44.2 cm x 12.4 cm x 3 cm; 17 13/32 in x 4 7/8 in x 1 3/16 in
place made
place distributed
United States: New Jersey, Hoboken
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Science & Mathematics
Drawing Instruments
Dividers and Compasses
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Dividers and Compasses
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Homé Reitwiesner
Additional Media

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