Faber-Castell Map Measure Sold by U. S. Blue Co.


This metal map measure consists of a slender tubular handle attached to a dial with a wheel protruding from the bottom. The white paper dial is covered by glass and has a thin blue metal arrow attached in the center. The arrow moves as the wheel is traced along a map. The outer ring of the dial is marked by threes from 0 to 39 for converting inches to miles or inches to verstes (a traditional Russian length measure equivalent to 3,500 feet). The inner ring is divided by units and numbered by tens from 0 to 100 for converting centimeters to kilometers.

The center of the dial is marked: Made in (/) Switzerland (/) U.S. BLUE CO. (/) CHICAGO. The metal between the dial and the wheel is marked: F C (/) DEPOSE. The Faber-Castell logo of a castle is between the letters F and C. The letter B is scratched into the back of the instrument.

The German company A. W. Faber was renamed Faber-Castell in 1905. It sometimes manufactured products in Switzerland, and "depose" suggests that the firm filed for a trademark there. U.S. Blue was presumably a blueprint company located in Chicago; it also sold slide rules from Hemmi. The Eugene Dietzgen Co. also sold this instrument, charging $2.20 in 1926. Alfred J. Betcher (1887–1971) owned this example, perhaps purchasing it when he was studying at the University of Minnesota (1906) or at West Point (1907–1911). He was commissioned as a captain, served at posts in New York, Vermont, and Kentucky, and retired in 1939 at the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In 1940 he was elected mayor of Canajoharie, N.Y.

References: Russ Rowlett, How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurement, July 11, 2005, http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/index.html; Catalogue & Price List of Eugene Dietzgen Co., 12th ed. (Chicago, 1926), 171; accession file.

Date Made: ca 1910

Maker: Faber, A. W.

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: Switzerland

Subject: MathematicsSurveying


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Mathematics, Science & Mathematics, Scale Rules, Measuring & Mapping


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of John A. Betcher

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1982.0386.07Accession Number: 1982.0386Catalog Number: 1982.0386.07

Object Name: rulescale rule

Physical Description: glass (overall material)metal (overall material)paper (overall material)Measurements: overall: 11.5 cm x 3.5 cm x .5 cm; 4 17/32 in x 1 3/8 in x 3/16 in

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a7-2e4e-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_904781

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.