Keuffel & Esser Polar Planimeter Model 4212


This relatively simple German-made stainless steel polar planimeter has arms of fixed length, with measuring wheels near the vertex of the tracer arm and a carrier for a stainless steel weight at the end of the other arm. The carrier is marked: KEUFFEL & ESSER Co. The part of the arm below it is marked on the underside: No 3079. The weight is marked: 80.

A wooden case covered with black leather is lined with purple velvet. A mark on the lid of the case reads: KEUFFEL & ESSER CO. N.Y.

Keuffel & Esser sold this planimeter as the model 1111 from 1892 to 1901 and then as model 4212 from 1901 to 1936. The donor assigned it a date of 1912. The sliding clasp on the case suggests a relatively late date. The model 4212 was one of the simpler planimeters sold by K & E and the 1909 catalog gives a price of $16.50. The instrument was imported by K&E from the firm established in Switzerland by the mathematician and inventor Jakob Amsler. Several other Amsler planimeters are in the collections.

This instrument reached the Smithsonian in 2016.


Clark McCoy, "Collection of Pages from K&E Catalogs for the 4210 Family of Polar Planimeters," at the website

Keuffel & Esser Company, Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser, 33d ed., New York, 1909, p. 318.

Accession File.

Date Made: ca 1910

Maker: Keuffel & Esser Co.

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: Mathematics

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


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Maximilian Berktold

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2016.0064.04Catalog Number: 2016.0064.04Accession Number: 2016.0064

Object Name: planimeter

Physical Description: stainless steel (planimeter, weight material)plastic (measuring discs material)wood, leather, velvet (case material)Measurements: overall: 4 cm x 16.4 cm x 6.7 cm; 1 9/16 in x 6 15/32 in x 2 5/8 in


Record Id: nmah_1815121

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