Dancing Leg Calipers


Calipers are used to measure round objects, both around the outside (machine parts, rifle shot) and from the inside (a rifle barrel). They were often included in cases of drawing instruments in the 18th and 19th centuries and shaped like the human body, mainly for the enjoyment of the machinist or draftsman. This pair is missing its set screw and has been welded into a fixed position. It has no identifying marks.

References: Maya Hambly, Drawing Instruments: 1580–1980 (London: Sotheby's Publications, 1988), 73, 88.

Sotheby & Company, Catalogue of a Collection of Scientific Instruments, the Property of the Late Henry Russel Wray, London, 1959 (a copy of the catalogue is in the accession file).

Date Made: 19th century

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: Europe

Subject: MathematicsDrawing InstrumentsEngineering


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


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: MA.316932Accession Number: 219305Catalog Number: 316932

Object Name: calipers

Physical Description: brass (overall material)Measurements: overall: 11.2 cm x 4.1 cm x .5 cm; 4 13/32 in x 1 5/8 in x 3/16 in

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a7-3933-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_904332

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