Dietzgen Limb Protractor


This German silver protractor is in the shape of a quarter-circle. It is divided by half-degrees and marked by tens from 0° to 90°. Flat bars extend on both sides of the protractor. A movable arm extends from the vertex of the quadrant. A tab is cut out from this limb to permit reading the angle markings. The arm is secured by a brass thumbscrew that is near the origin point for the angle markings. The protractor is noticeably rusted and tarnished.

There is a signature on the bottom edge: E. D. – Co. (/) NEW YORK & CHICAGO. Around 1880, Eugene Dietzgen emigrated from Germany and became a sales distributor for Keuffel & Esser in New York. In 1885, he began to sell mathematical instruments on his own in Chicago. In 1893, his firm started manufacturing instruments under the name Eugene Dietzgen Company. However, this protractor was not advertised in Dietzgen catalogs that were published between 1902 and 1947.

Leslie Leland Locke (1875–1943) originally owned this protractor. A student at Grove City College, he earned a bachelor's degree in 1896 and a master's degree in 1900. He taught mathematics at Michigan State College, Adelphi College, and Brooklyn College and its Technical High School. He was interested in Peruvian quipu, mysterious and ancient systems of knotted strings used to store and communicate information and data. He donated his collection of early calculating machines to the Smithsonian and his early American textbooks to the University of Michigan.

Reference: Louis C. Karpinski, "Leslie Leland Locke," Science n.s., 98, no. 2543 (24 September 1943): 274–275.

Date Made: ca 1900

Maker: Eugene Dietzgen Company

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: MathematicsProtractor


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


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Grove City College

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2011.0129.01Accession Number: 2011.0129Catalog Number: 2011.0129.01

Object Name: protractor

Physical Description: german silver (overall material)Measurements: overall: 1.5 cm x 17.5 cm x 17.7 cm; 19/32 in x 6 7/8 in x 6 31/32 in


Record Id: nmah_1408571

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