Geometric Model, L. Brill No. 148. Ser. 10 No. 1h, Minimal Surface

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Students at the technical high school in Munich, working under the direction of Alexander Brill, developed a series of wire models of minimal surfaces that was first published by Ludwig Brill in 1885. A minimal surface is the surface of smallest area of all the surfaces bounded by a closed curve in space. Its mean curvature is zero. Minimal surfaces are often represented by soap films, as was the intention with this model. This, the eighth model in the series, is in the shape of a six-sided prism with only half of its edges. A handle extends from the top.
This example was exhibited at the Columbian Exposition, a world’s fair held in Chicago in 1893.
L. Brill, Catalog mathematischer Modelle. . ., Darmstadt: L. Brill,1892, p. 21, 85.
G. Fischer, Mathematical Models: Commentary, Braunschweig / Wiesbaden: Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, 1986, pp. 41-43.
H.A. Schwarz, Bestimmung einer speciellen Minimalfläche, Berlin: F. Dümmler's Verlags-Buchhandlung, 1871. This source is mentioned in Brill’s catalog.
Currently not on view
date made
L. Brill
place made
Deutschland: Hessen, Darmstadt
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 19 cm x 5.5 cm x 4.6 cm; 7 15/32 in x 2 5/32 in x 1 13/16 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Wesleyan University
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Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History