Pencil Holder for Drawing Compass

This brass leg for a drawing compass has a screw for adjusting the width of the pencil lead holder. A joint at the top bends to a right angle. At the turn of the 20th century, brass drawing instruments were made for school use, while engineers and draftsmen used instruments made from German silver and steel. This object may have originally been part of a wooden case of drawing instruments. It resembles but is not identical to the pencil point in a case sold for $5.00 by Keuffel & Esser in 1892 and compasses sold for 60¢ by W. & L. E. Gurley in 1903 and 1906.
References: Catalogue and Price-List of Keuffel & Esser Co., 23rd ed. (New York, 1892), 95; A Manual of the Principal Instruments . . . Manufactured by W. & L. E. Gurley, 37th ed. (Troy, N.Y., 1903), 322–323; A Manual of the Principal Instruments . . . Manufactured by W. & L. E. Gurley, 39th ed. (Troy, N.Y., 1906), 322–323.
Currently not on view
Object Name
pencil holder
compass, drawing (partial)
date made
ca 1900
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
overall: 7.9 cm x 1 cm x .9 cm; 3 1/8 in x 13/32 in x 11/32 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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