Eagle Pencil Company Model 569 Compass and Divider with Leads

This metal instrument is held together by a screw at the top. A spring inside the mechanism below the screw allows the two legs to be squeezed together. The piece between the screw and spring is marked: EAGLE PENCIL CO. (/) NEW YORK (/) PATENTED. The legs are embossed with a floral pattern. Two needle points slide into slots at the end of each leg. One needle point is reversible and has a holder for a pencil lead at its other end. Compare to MA*304722.04, which is apparently an older version of this model. The mark refers to the patent Harrison Cole received in 1894 for a braking screw bolt that would help compasses or dividers remain set in position.
A cardboard box is covered with green and white checked paper and a white label marked: EAGLE (/) COMPASS & DIVIDER (/) Pat. Dec. 11th 1894. Pat. Gt. Britain. (/) Reg. U. S. Pat. Off. & Canada. (/) NO. 569. (/) Manufactured by EAGLE PENCIL CO., New York, U.S.A. Two small aluminum tubes received with the instrument each hold five sharpened pencil leads.
German immigrant Heinrich Berolzheimer opened Eagle Pencil Company as a pencil shop in New York City in 1856, with a factory in Yonkers. By 1880, the firm made mechanical pencils as well as pens and erasers. In 1969, the company changed its name to Berol Corporation, and the Empire Pencil Corporation purchased it in 1986.
References: Harrison Cole, "Drawing Instrument" (U.S. Patent 530,680 issued December 11, 1894); "The History of Berol," http://www.berol.co.uk/berolhistory.html.
Currently not on view
Object Name
compass, drawing
leads, group of
date made
20th century
Eagle Pencil Company
Physical Description
lead (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 1.5 cm x 14.5 cm x 6 cm; 19/32 in x 5 23/32 in x 2 3/8 in
place made
United States: New York, New York
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 William J. Ellenberger
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

2/19/2015 8:58:01 PM
Sheila Pressler
I have this exact item that was given to me by my father. It is in the original box with a piece of paper that contains the directions for use in 4 languages. The set I have only contains one tube with 1 piece of lead. Was this type of compass common for the time period?
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