Bow Compass with Pencil Point Sold by Keuffel & Esser

This tarnished German silver bow pencil has a ring connecting the instrument to its ridged cylindrical handle. It is marked: KEUFFEL & ESSER CO. (/) GERMANY. The disc adjusting the instrument's width is between the legs. Thumbscrews on the back of one leg and the front of the other permit adjustments to the height of the pencil and pricker points. The instrument has no pencil lead.
The instrument does not appear in K&E's 1892 or 1909 catalogs. K&E sold a similar bow compass from at least 1921 to at least 1936, but that instrument was made in the United States and had bolts in each leg at the ends of the bow screw. Therefore, this object may have been imported before 1892.
References: Catalogue and Price-List of Keuffel & Esser Co., 36th ed. (New York, 1921), 92s; Catalogue and Price-List of Keuffel & Esser Co., 38th ed. (New York, 1936), 141.
Currently not on view
Object Name
bow pencil
compass, drawing
date made
late 19th century
Keuffel & Esser Co.
Physical Description
german silver (overall material)
overall: 14 cm x 3.4 cm x 1.4 cm; 5 1/2 in x 1 11/32 in x 9/16 in
place made
ID Number
accession number
catalog 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 Robert B. Condon

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