Model of the Intersection of Cones by Richard P. Baker, Baker #504 (a Ruled Surface)


This geometric model was constructed by Richard P. Baker in the early twentieth century when he was Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Iowa. Baker believed that models were essential for the teaching of many parts of mathematics and physics, and over one hundred of his models are in the museum collections.

The typed part of a paper label on the wooden base reads: No. 504 (/) GENERAL; ROOTS 1, 1, 1. The model has a wooden frame painted black, held together with metal screws and a metal crosspiece. The threads go crosswise. They represent two double cones, one (in yellow) with equal ellipses at both ends and the other (in red) with circles at both ends. The major axis of the elliptic cone is the same length as the radius of the circle. The cones have a common vertex at the center.

This was the simplest of five models Wheeler designed of “cones with a common vertex.” Four of these are in the Smithsonian collections. They are Wheeler’s numbers 504 (MA.211257.098), 505 (MA.211257.099), 507 (MA.211257.100), and 508 MA.211257.101).


Richard P. Baker, “Mathematical Models,” Iowa City, Iowa, January, 1931, p. 10.

Date Made: ca 1906-1935

Maker: Baker, Richard P.

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: Mathematics


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Mathematics, Science & Mathematics


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Frances E. Baker

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: MA.211257.098Accession Number: 211257Catalog Number: 211257.098

Object Name: geometric model

Physical Description: thread (overall material)wood (overall material)metal (overall material)red (overall color)black (overall color)yellow (overall color)screwed, bolted and threaded. (overall production method/technique)Measurements: average spatial: 22.4 cm x 19.6 cm x 19.8 cm; 8 13/16 in x 7 23/32 in x 7 25/32 in


Record Id: nmah_1087346

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