Pen Knife

This 5" steel knife blade probably has a celluloid (rather than an ivory) handle. It was received with a sizable collection of mathematical drawing instruments, but makers of drawing instruments did not typically advertise knives in their catalogs. This object may have been useful for sharpening pen quills and pencils. Draftsmen also used knives as erasers, but the blade on this example is shaped differently from the blades on the "steel erasers" depicted in Keuffel & Esser and Dietzgen catalogs. Compare to the knife in 1990.0690.01.
Currently not on view
Object Name
pen knife
date made
early 20th century
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
overall: 12.5 cm x 1.2 cm x 1.2 cm; 4 29/32 in x 15/32 in x 15/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Pens and Pencils
Science & Mathematics
Drawing Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Pens and Pencils
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Ruth A. Ming

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