Bow Compass

This steel-spring instrument has a metal and ivory handle, with a ridged ring around the bottom and the top shaped like a pawn chess piece. A holder with a metal adjusting screw on one leg is missing its needle point. This leg is marked with the number 8 inside a circle and an arrow pointing left (toward the 8). The holder on the other leg has a pencil lead and is adjusted with a brass screw. The distance between the legs is adjusted with a metal screw and brass nut. This object does not resemble the ivory-handled bow-pencils sold around the turn of the 20th century by Keuffel & Esser, Dietzgen, Gurley, Kern, or Schoenner.
Currently not on view
Object Name
bow pencil
compass, drawing
date made
ca 1900
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
ivory (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 9.2 cm x 2.5 cm x 1.8 cm; 3 5/8 in x 31/32 in x 23/32 in
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 Eunice L. Hoffman

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