Gerber Variable Scale

H. Joseph Gerber founded the Gerber Scientific Company in Hartford, Connecticut in 1948 to help produce his scientific instruments, especially the Gerber Variable Scale. In later years the company produced a wide array of equipment including computer controlled fabric cutter and precision lens grinding equipment. The Gerber Variable Scale was a mechanical computational device that consisted of two springs that expanded and contracted together to give proportional scales. These scales were used to multiply curves by constants and perform computations on graphs and curves to help reduce oscillograph and telemetry data. This is an early model variable scale made in the late 1940's, given to Eddie Gipstein—Gerber's first employee—as a going away present when he took a new job. The mathematics collection in the Division of Medicine and Science contains many more examples of scale rules, and the Archives Center has a large Gerber collection.
Object Name
variable scale
date made
ca 1946
overall: 12 in x 1 1/2 in x 3/4 in; 30.48 cm x 3.81 cm x 1.905 cm
associated place
United States: Connecticut, South Windsor
ID Number
nonaccession number
catalog number
Industry & Manufacturing
Science & Mathematics
American Enterprise
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

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