#
Science & Mathematics

The Museum's collections hold thousands of objects related to chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, and other sciences. Instruments range from early American telescopes to lasers. Rare glassware and other artifacts from the laboratory of Joseph Priestley, the discoverer of oxygen, are among the scientific treasures here. A Gilbert chemistry set of about 1937 and other objects testify to the pleasures of amateur science. Artifacts also help illuminate the social and political history of biology and the roles of women and minorities in science.

The mathematics collection holds artifacts from slide rules and flash cards to code-breaking equipment. More than 1,000 models demonstrate some of the problems and principles of mathematics, and 80 abstract paintings by illustrator and cartoonist Crockett Johnson show his visual interpretations of mathematical theorems.

"Science & Mathematics - Overview" showing 41 items.

Page 1 of 5

## Flash Cards - Maxson's Self-Keyed Fundamental Number Work Self Keyed Set. No. 10

- Description
- In the early twentieth century, progressive educators sought more efficient ways to teach arithmetic. Some used flash cards. This is set of flash cards for arithmetic drill. Each of the sixty numbered cards has eight multiplication problems written on it. The first six problems on each card concern multiplying two 3-digit numbers; the last two show the product of a three-digit and a four-digit number. This is the tenth in a group of 13 drill sets intended for students in grades three through eight. It was designed for fifth graders.

- The cards fit in a cardboard box along with two leaflets. The first lists the drill sets for each grade, and describes checking procedures for students and teachers. The second describes which cards were to be used which day of the week for how long in various grades.

- According to the box, the cards were “A systematic, economical and thorough arrangement of numbers for acquiring accuracy and rapidity in the fundamental operations.” This set sold for sixty cents and was distributed by J. L. Hammett Company of Newark, N. J. and Cambridge, Ma. One leaflet has copyright date 1915, the other 1934. William Silas Maxson (1867-1937) worked as principal of schools in Somerset, Ky.; Chicago, Ill.; and the following towns in New York: Alfred, Yonkers, Sackets Harbor and White Plains. He retired in 1926 from a White Plains elementary school. A 1917 textbook mentions the cards.

- Referencs:

- Louis W, Rapeer, ed.,
*Teaching Elementary School Subjects*, New York: Scribners, 1917, pp. 26, 31.

*]New York Times*, August 19, 1937, p. 20.

- Location
- Currently not on view

- date made
- 1934

- maker
- Hammett Company, J. L.

- ID Number
- 2009.0017.91

- accession number
- 2009.0017

- catalog number
- 2009.0017.91

- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

## Geometric Model by A. Harry Wheeler, Snub Dodecahedron

- Description
- The Archimedean solids are polyhedra with regular polygons for sides and edges of equal length. For example, the faces of this surface are twelve regular pentagons and eighty equilateral triangles. It is called a snub dodecahedron. The model is cut and folded from paper. A mark on two faces reads: XII (/) 17. A. Harry Wheeler (/) Nov.1.1931 (/) Pat. 1292188. A paper sticker glued to another side reads: 17. Wheeler assigned the model the number 17, and referred to it as Archimedean solid XII.

- References:

- Magnus J. Wenninger,
*Polyhedron Models*, Cambridge: The University Press, 1971, p. 32.

- A. H. Wheeler,
*Catalog of Models*, A. H. Wheeler Papers, Mathematics Collections, National Museum of American History.

- Location
- Currently not on view

- date made
- 1931

- patentee
- Wheeler, Albert Harry

- maker
- Wheeler, Albert Harry

- ID Number
- MA*304723.062

- accession number
- 304723

- catalog number
- 304723.062

- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

## Geometric Model by R. Anderson, a Student of A. Harry Wheeler, Great Rhombicuboctahedron

- Description
- The Archimedean solids are polyhedra with regular polygons for sides and edges of equal length. For example, this 26-faced model has twelve square sides, eight hexagonal sides, and six octagonal sides. The surface is called a truncated cuboctahedron, a rhombitruncated cuboctahedron, or a great rhombicuboctahedron.

- Archimedean solids were known to the Hellenistic Greek mathematician Archimedes and studied by the 17th-century mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler. This particular example was made from balsa wood by A. Harry Wheeler’s student R. Anderson, and is dated April 15, ’38. It is number 18 in Wheeler’s listing of models.

- For other examples of models of this surface, see MA*304723.063 (plastic) and MA*304723.064 (paper).

- References:

- Magnus J. Wenninger,
*Polyhedron Models*, Cambridge: The University Press, 1971, p. 29.

- A. H. Wheeler,
*Catalog of Models*, A. H. Wheeler Papers, Mathematics Collections, National Museum of American History.

- Location
- Currently not on view

- date made
- 1938

- teacher of maker
- Wheeler, Albert Harry

- maker
- Anderson, R.

- ID Number
- MA*304723.065

- accession number
- 304723

- catalog number
- 304723.065

- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

## Geometric Model by Robert Chaffe, a Student of A. Harry Wheeler, Hyperbolic Paraboloid

- Description
- Suppose two opposite sides of a rectangle are joined by straight lines parallel to the other two sides. Lifting two opposite corners of the rectangle—and keeping the lines taut—one obtains a saddle-shaped figure known as a hyperbolic paraboloid.

- This model of a hyperbolic paraboloid was made from balsa wood by Robert Chaffe, a high school student of A. Harry Wheeler in the class of 1937. It is likely that this person is Robert C. Chaffe (1918–1991) who was born in Connecticut, attended high school in Worcester, Massachusetts, graduated from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1942, and seems to have spent his career as a salesman and sales engineer in Worcester and nearby Auburn.

- References:

- Gerd Fischer,
*Mathematical Models*, vol. 2, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden: Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, 1986, pp. 3–4.

- U.S. Census records.

- Massachusetts city directories.

- Location
- Currently not on view

- date made
- 1937

- teacher of maker
- Wheeler, Albert Harry

- maker
- Chaffe, Robert

- ID Number
- MA*304723.180

- accession number
- 304723

- catalog number
- 304723.180

- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

## Geometric Model by Dick Holl, a Student of A.Harry Wheeler, Dodecadodecahedron

- Description
- In this model, the twelve faces of a dodecahedron are replaced by twelve stars. Below and parallel to each of the stars is a regular pentagon. Only five rhombuses from the corners of a pentagon show beneath each star. The pentagons intersect one another.

- This model is cut and folded from tan paper. One star face and one three-sided dimple are shaded with pencil. A paper sticker gives Wheeler’s number for the model, 340. Another mark reads: Holl (/) Mar 23, 1934. A third mark reads: Dick (/) Holl (/) 34.

- Richard B. Holl of Worcester, Massachusetts, is listed in U.S. Census records for 1920 and 1930, with a birth date of about 1917. Richard Bernhardt Holl (1916–1985) is listed in Masonic records as born in Worcester, Massachusetts, and dying in Waltham, Massachusetts. Richard Bernhardt Holl also is listed in the 1934 yearbook of North High School in Worcester. Later city directories indicate that he became an engineer.

- References:

- Magnus J. Wenninger,
*Polyhedron Models*, Cambridge: The University Press, 1971, p.112.

- A. H. Wheeler,
*Catalog of Models*, A. H. Wheeler Papers, Mathematics Collections, National Museum of American History.

- Ancestry Library Edition, accessed January 23, 2015.

- Location
- Currently not on view

- date made
- 1934

- associated dates
- 1934-03-23

- teacher of maker
- Wheeler, Albert Harry

- maker
- Holl, Dick

- ID Number
- MA*304723.186

- accession number
- 304723

- catalog number
- 304723.186

- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

## Microscope

- Description
- This Bausch & Lomb Model GGBET is a stereoscopic instrument with coarse and fine focus, quadruple nosepiece, square mechanical stage, inclination joint, sub-stage condenser and iris diaphragm, sub-stage mirror, and V-shaped base. The inscription on the eyepiece reads “BAUSCH & LOMB OPTICAL CO. / ROCHESTER, N.Y.” The 251496 serial number indicates a date of around 1936. A tag on the base reads “PROPERTY OF U.S. GOVERNMENT / PHS / 800 / 35990.”

- This was used in the mid-1960s, in the National Institutes of Health Division of Biologics Standards, in connection with the development of a live virus vaccine for rubella (German measles). Dr. Harry M. Meyer, Jr. and Dr. Paul D. Parkman led this project.

- Ref: Bausch & Lomb,
*Scientific Instruments*(Rochester, N.Y., 1939), p. 30.

- Location
- Currently not on view

- date made
- 1936

- maker
- Bausch & Lomb Optical Co.

- ID Number
- 1977.0514.01

- accession number
- 1977.0514

- catalog number
- 1977.0514.01

- serial number
- 251496

- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

## Microscope

- Description
- This is a Spencer Universal Binocular Model 56 with coarse and fine focus, triple revolving nosepiece, large rectangular stage, sub-stage mirror, and U-shaped base. The inscription reads “SPENCER / BUFFALO / USA.” The form was introduced in 1929. The 113271 serial number on this example indicates a date of 1933.

- Ref: Spencer Lens Co. ad in
*Journal of Parasitology*15 (June 1929).

- Spencer Lens Co.,
*Catalog of the More Popular Spencer Microscopes, Microtomes, Delineascopes, Optical Measuring Instruments and Accessories*(Buffalo, 1930), p. 35. 35,

- Location
- Currently not on view

- date made
- 1933

- maker
- Spencer Lens Company

- ID Number
- 1978.2222.01

- catalog number
- 1978.2222.01

- accession number
- 1978.2222

- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

## Mathematical Table, The Macmillan Table Slide Rule

- Description
- John Perry Ballantine (1896–1970), a mathematician on the faculty of the University of Washington, published this set of tables in 1931 as an inexpensive alternative to the slide rule. The paper instrument includes two 8-1/2” x 11” (22.3 cm. x 28 cm) cards which have printed tables on both sides. These are for multiplication, finding powers of numbers, sines, and tangents. Four narrower tables are placed next to these. Two of these are for multiplication, one for division and one for square root. Each of the wider tables has 20 columns of numbers in 100 rows. The narrower ones have ten columns of numbers in ten rows. Tables are based on antilogarithms to base 10. A leaflet of instructions and a paper dust cover are included.

- This example was the property of Oscar W. Richards of the Osborn Zoological Laboratory of Yale University. It is marked with his stamp. A mark on the corner reads: THE MACMILLAN (/) TABLE SLIDE RULE. Another mark there reads: New York (/) THE MACMILLAN COMPANY (/) 1931.

- Ballantine was born in Rahuri, India, the son of a medical missionary and a teacher. He graduated from Harvard in 1918 and then taught briefly at the University of Maine, Pennsylvania State College, and the University of Michigan. He attended graduate school at the University of Chicago, where he met and married fellow graduate student and mathematician Constance Rummons. They both received doctorates from Chicago in 1923. J. P. Ballantine then spent three years teaching at Columbia University before joining the faculty of the University of Washington in 1926. He stayed there, except for a stint in American military schools, until his retirement in 1966.

- Ballantine’s slide rule was reviewed in the
*Journal of the American Statistical Association*, the*American Mathematical Monthly*, and the British educational journal*Mathematical Gazette*. It cost only fifty cents, but, as reviewers pointed out, was less portable and less durable than a conventional slide rule. No second edition was required.

- Ballantine did not limit his interest in technical improvement to classroom devices. In 1932, he applied for a patent relating to electric power meters, receiving it in 1935. In 1938, he published the textbook
*Essentials of Engineering Mathematics*. Neither of these projects was particularly influential.

- References:

- Advertisement,
*The American Mathematical Monthly*, 38 (May 1931), unnumbered page.

- E. J. Atkinson, “The Macmillan Table Slide Rule,” reviewed in
*The Mathematical Gazette*, 16 (May 1932), pp. 140–141.

- Dorothy C. Bacon, “The Macmillan Table Slide Rule,” reviewed in
*Journal of the American Statistical Association*, 26 (Sept 1931), p 373–374.

- J. P. Ballantine, “Multiple-rate Power Metering,” U.S. Patent #2000736, May 7, 1935.

- R. E. Gilman, “The Macmillan Table Slide rule,” reviewed in
*The American Mathematical Monthly*, 39 (May 1932), pp. 295–296.

- J. Green and J. LaDuke,
*Pioneering Women in American Mathematics: the Pre-1940 PhD’s*, Providence: American Mathematical Society, 2009, pp. 131–132.

- Location
- Currently not on view

- date made
- 1931

- maker
- MacMillan

- ID Number
- 1979.3074.08

- nonaccession number
- 1979.3074

- catalog number
- 1979.3074.08

- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

## Prism Binoculars

- Description
- This is an aluminum instrument with black finish. The barrels are covered with black leather. The objective lenses are 30 mm diameter. The eye end of the left prism housing is marked “MILITARY STEREO / 6 X 30” and “5409-1942.” That on the right is marked “BAUSCH & LOMB OPTICAL CO. / ROCHESTER, N.Y. U.S.A.” and “DALE BROWN.” Each eyepiece can be focused, and each has a diopter scale. The case is brown leather. A tag in the accession file indicates that this instrument was in the U.S. Naval Observatory repair shop in 1944.

- Location
- Currently not on view

- date made
- ca 1940

- maker
- Bausch & Lomb

- ID Number
- 1980.0879.01

- catalog number
- 1980.0879.01

- accession number
- 1980.0879

- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

## Burroughs Model 9 Adding Machine

- Description
- This full-keyboard manually operated printing adding machine has seven columns of color-coded number keys, with nine keys in each column. To the left of these are three rows of black keys with a key for each month and additional red number keys for days. To the right of the central number keys is a column of five keys for subtotal, total, non-add, repeat, and error. There is a lever below these marked “-” at the top and “+” at the bottom. The crank on the right has a wooden handle.

- At the top is a wide adjustable carriage with a ribbon and printing mechanism in front of it. The rightmost type bar is for symbols. The next seven type bars are for totals, subtotals, etc. The three leftmost type bars are for days of the week and months. The machine has a serrated edge above the platen for tearing the end of the paper tape, an adjustable paper guide behind the platen, and a dowel mounted at the back to hold a roll of paper. The ribbon and its spools are covered, with screws holding the spool containers in place. The serial number, stamped on the keyboard below the keys, is: 9A67626.

- The machine was used at the Freda Fish Corporation, a family-owned wholesale and retail fish business in New York City. The motto of the business was “We handle anything that swims, clings, or crawls.”

- References:

*Office Machines Research, Inc*., section 3.21.

- Accession file.

- Location
- Currently not on view

- date made
- 1934

- maker
- Burroughs Adding Machine Company

- ID Number
- 1981.0058.01

- accession number
- 1981.0058

- catalog number
- 1981.0058.01

- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center