Japanese Protractor, 1876 World's Fair

This brass circular protractor is divided by single degrees and marked every thirty degrees in the clockwise direction with Japanese characters facing outwards and representing the Chinese zodiac: mouse, cow, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, chicken, dog, and boar. Four arms extend toward the center of the protractor and meet around an open circle 3cm in diameter. The circle is open, except for a protrusion containing a pinhole at the origin point.
The Japanese Empire Department of Education assembled an extensive exhibit of books, reports, examinations, maps, photographs, paintings, classroom equipment, medical apparatus, and drawing instruments for the 1876 World's Fair, the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Five types of protractors were included in the display, two of which survive in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
See also ID Number MA*261305.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
overall: .2 cm x 10.8 cm x 10.8 cm; 3/32 in x 4 1/4 in x 4 1/4 in
place made
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Science & Mathematics
Expositions and Fairs
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Transfer from the Bureau of Education, Department of the Interior

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