Plain Dividers

These metal dividers are noticeably corroded. They are called "plain" because, although there is a screw at the top for adjusting the width to which the dividers are set, there is no second screw or hairspring on one of the legs for refining the setting. The short needle points are not removable. The upper part of the legs is indented, so that an oval is seen when the dividers are closed. The Brown University mathematics department donated these dividers to the Smithsonian in 1973.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1900
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 1 cm x 17.5 cm x 1.5 cm; 13/32 in x 6 7/8 in x 19/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Science & Mathematics
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 Brown University Department of Mathematics

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