Price Water Current Meter


William Gunn Price designed his first water current meter in 1882 and, while the form was quite successful, improvements were soon forthcoming. This example was made in the U.S. Geological Survey shops around 1908 and transferred to the Smithsonian in 1916. It has a four-blade rudder, a wheel with six conical buckets, and a new form of yoke. It records every fifth revolution of the wheel. It is 15 inches long and marked simply “785.” And it seems to be the prototype for the Model 621 penta meter manufactured by W. & L. E. Gurley in Troy, N.Y.

Ref: Arthur H. Frazier, William Gunn Price and the Price Current Meters (Washington, D.C., 1967), p. 60.

Arthur H. Frazier, Water Current Meters in the Smithsonian Collections of the National Museum of History and Technology (Washington, D.C., 1974), pp. 78-87.

W. & L. E. Gurley, Price List of Civil Engineers and Surveyors Instruments (Troy, N.Y., 1912), p. 105.

Date Made: ca 1908

Location: Currently not on view

See more items in: Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences, Water Currents, Measuring & Mapping


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: U.S. Geological Survey

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: PH.289645Accession Number: 59263Catalog Number: 289645

Object Name: Water Current Meter

Measurements: overall: 15 in; 38.1 cmoverall: 4 1/8 in x 14 3/4 in x 5 in; 10.4775 cm x 37.465 cm x 12.7 cm


Record Id: nmah_1434219

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.