Compass in Case

This six-inch German silver instrument opens into a double "V" shape. It has a cylindrical handle, thumbscrews for removing the point attachments, and thumbscrews for adjusting the points. The legs may be fitted with any combination of a needle point, two lengthening bars, a pencil point, and a pen point. The second needle point is missing. The lengthening bars extend the compass horizontally to a width of 9-3/4", allowing the instrument to function as a beam compass.
Almost all of the pieces are engraved with the number 60, except for the pen point and one lengthening bar, which are each engraved with the number 61. It is possible that some of the pieces have gotten mixed up with those catalogued with 1978.2110.04. A wooden case is covered with burgundy-colored leather and lined with black velvet.
Currently not on view
Object Name
compass, drawing
date made
early 20th century
Physical Description
leather (overall material)
steel (overall material)
wood (overall material)
german silver (overall material)
velvet (overall material)
overall: 17.7 cm x 10 cm x 2 cm; 6 31/32 in x 3 15/16 in x 25/32 in
place made
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Drawing Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Dividers and Compasses
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Ruth A. Ming
Additional Media

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