Wallet Cases

These cases were often made of cardboard covered with leather so that they could be unfolded on a desk or table like a wallet. As with other styles of cases, American retailers including Eugene Dietzgen typically imported high-quality drawing instruments from various firms, such as the German workshops established by Georg Schoenner and E. O. Richter; assembled the pieces into sets; and imprinted their own company names on the top of the case or inside the lid. In addition, Schoenner and Richter both sold their products directly to individual Americans. World War I and World War II interrupted the availability of European instruments, particularly those made in Germany, leading to increased efforts to manufacture items such as drawing compasses in the United States. The people who purchased sets of instruments also sometimes marked them with their names and addresses, suggesting that they carried their sets from home to work and did not want the sets to be misplaced.

This black leather wallet case is lined with green velvet and closes with two metal snaps. The front lower left corner is marked: 437. A white celluloid plate inside the case is marked: KEUFFEL & ESSER CO. (/) NEW YORK, (/) ST. LOUIS, CHICAGO (/) SAN FRANCISCO.
Description
This black leather wallet case is lined with green velvet and closes with two metal snaps. The front lower left corner is marked: 437. A white celluloid plate inside the case is marked: KEUFFEL & ESSER CO. (/) NEW YORK, (/) ST. LOUIS, CHICAGO (/) SAN FRANCISCO. The case contains:
1) 5" and 4-3/8" metal drawing pens marked on their handles: PARAGON (/) 437. The points are marked: K&E Co.
2) 2" cylindrical metal case with three needle points wrapped in tissue paper.
3) 6-3/4" German silver drawing compass with bendable legs and removable pencil point, lengthening bar, and pen point. The pieces are all marked: 437. The compass is also marked inside one leg: KEUFFEL & ESSER Co. N.Y. (/) PARAGON. Inside the other leg is marked: PAT. MARCH 14 & 28 93 (/) GERMANY.
4) 3-7/8" German silver and steel bow pen and bow pencil.
5) 5-1/2" German silver, steel, and ebony railroad pen marked: 437 GERMANY. One blade is marked: K&ECO.
6) 4-3/4" German silver, steel, and ebony curve pen marked: 437 GERMANY. The point is marked: K&E Co.
7) 6-1/4" steel semicircular protractor, divided to single degrees and numbered by tens in both directions from 10 to 170.
The set appears to be missing a pair of bow dividers, a drawing pen, and a joint tightener. From at least 1890 to 1921, Keuffel & Esser sold a pair of proportional dividers as model number 437. No sets of drawing instruments had this model number, nor is a set exactly like this one shown in K&E catalogs. The number 437 on this set may therefore be a serial number, and the set may have been special-ordered for the institution that distributed it. K&E introduced the Paragon line of drawing instruments in 1901.
According to the donor, Alfred John Betcher (1887–1971) used this set of drawing instruments while he was a student at the University of Minnesota in 1906. He transferred to West Point in 1907 and graduated in 1911. He served in the Philippines, Texas, New York, France, Vermont, and Kentucky. He retired in 1939 at the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. In 1940 he was elected mayor of Canajoharie, N.Y.
References: George W. Cullum, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy, supp. vol. VI-B, ed. Wirt Robinson (Saginaw, Mich., 1920), 1532; accession file.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1901-1906
maker
Keuffel & Esser Co.
ID Number
1982.0386.01
accession number
1982.0386
catalog number
1982.0386.01
This folding cardboard case is covered with black leather and lined with blue leather. The inside of the lid flap is marked in silver: Made in Germany. It is also marked: Technical Supply Company (/) Scranton and New York.
Description
This folding cardboard case is covered with black leather and lined with blue leather. The inside of the lid flap is marked in silver: Made in Germany. It is also marked: Technical Supply Company (/) Scranton and New York. The firm's logo (intertwined letters T, S, and Co., in between two torches) is to the left of the first mark. The set includes:
1) 6-1/4" German silver compass with bendable legs and removable needle and pencil points. The central joint is marked: PAT. (/) 17.3.03. Inside one leg is marked: n 16. A picture of a gear is to the right of the mark. Inside the other leg is marked: SCHOENNER, GERMANY ||.
2) 6" German silver and steel fixed-point dividers. On one side, the joint is marked: D.R.P. On the other side, the joint has the Schoenner logo: an S, G, and two intersecting arrows with two heads superimposed on each other. The inside of one leg has a drawing of a gear. Inside the other leg is marked: SCHOENNER, GERMANY ||.
3) 1" yellow metal cylindrical case with two pencil leads. The lid is marked: PNK TINGE. The bottom is marked: AVON PRODUCTS INC. (/) DSTR (/) N.Y.
4) 3-3/4" steel bow pencil with German silver handle. The handle is marked: GERMANY.
5) 4" steel bow pen with German silver handle. The handle is marked: GERMANY.
6) 3-11/16" German silver lengthening bar.
7) 5-1/2" steel, German silver, and ebony drawing pen. The point has a latch that allows the user to set it open. The pen is marked: T.A. & SONS PAT. MAY 7, 95 – SEP. 29, 96.
8) 1" metal joint tightener.
The drawing pen and case for leads do not appear to be part of the original set. The case may have been manufactured for cosmetics instead of as a scientific instrument. Another instrument, probably a small pair of dividers, is missing.
Georg Schoenner (1821–1899) established an instrument workshop in Nuremberg, Germany in 1851. His son, Georg Schoenner Jr. (1851–1921), joined the firm in 1877, and his grandson, Georg Paul Schoenner, reorganized the business as a limited liability company in 1921. Schoenner exhibited at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia and the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The firm targeted the U.S. in its sales, and was the largest producer of mathematical instruments in Germany before World War I. The company's interest in the American market is illustrated by the fact that Georg Schoenner Jr. received five U.S. patents in 1904 and another five in 1908. Similarly, the firm held the rights for the patent mentioned on the compass, for the design of the pivot joint.
Theodore Alteneder & Sons held the rights to the patents marked on the drawing pen. These covered the set-screw and latch on the pen point. For other drawing and calculating instruments manufactured by Alteneder, see 1991.0793.01, 1991.0793.05, and 2008.3041.01.
This set is not exactly like any of the sets of drawing instruments advertised in the Technical Supply Company's 1912 catalog.
References: Wilhelm Schwarzer, "Compass" (U.S. Patent 723, 041 issued March 17, 1903); U.S. Centennial Commission, International Exhibition, 1876. Reports and Awards: Group XXI, ed. Francis A. Walker (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1877), 192; U.S. Tariff Commission, Tariff Information Surveys on . . . Antimony, rev. ed. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1921), 49; Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the Year 1904, H.Doc. 266 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1905), 437; Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the Year 1908 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1909), 443–444; Ferdinand A. Alteneder, "Drawing Pen" (U.S. Patent 538,811 issued May 7, 1895) and (U.S. Patent 568,556 issued September 29, 1896).
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1903-1912
maker
Schoenner, Georg
ID Number
1989.0305.05
catalog number
1989.0305.05
accession number
1989.0305
This folding cardboard case is covered with green leather and lined with blue velvet. The back of the case is marked: 1905. Inside the lid flap, the left end is marked in silver: THE SPECIAL. A drawing of a sword runs through the words.
Description
This folding cardboard case is covered with green leather and lined with blue velvet. The back of the case is marked: 1905. Inside the lid flap, the left end is marked in silver: THE SPECIAL. A drawing of a sword runs through the words. The right end of the flap was missing when the set was received by the Smithsonian, but originally it likely was marked with the name of the retailer. The set includes:
1) 6-1/4" German silver compass with bendable legs and removable pencil and pen points. The central joint is marked: PATENT (/) MARCH 17 (/) 1903. Inside one leg is marked: C 36. Inside the other leg is marked: SCHOENNER ||. The ends of the pencil and pen points that insert into the compass leg are marked: 36 C. A latch on the pen point for widening the point is marked: PAT.FEB.4.04.
2) 6" German silver and steel dividers. The central hinge is marked: PATENT (/) MARCH 17 (/) 1903. Inside the other leg is marked: SCHOENNER ||.
3) 3-1/2" German silver extension bar. The end that inserts into the compass leg is marked: 36 C.
4) 4-3/8" and 5-1/2" ebony, German silver, and steel drawing pens. A latch on the point of the longer pen is marked: PAT.FEB.4.04.
5) 3-1/4" German silver and steel bow dividers, bow pencil, and bow pen.
6) 1-3/8" cylindrical metal case with three leads.
7) 1-1/8" blue metal joint tightener.
Schoenner was an instrument maker in Nuremberg, Germany, that particularly targeted the U.S. market. The firm held the rights to the March 17, 1903, patent, which covered the design of the pivot joint on drawing compasses. Georg Schoenner Jr. applied for the patent mentioned on the pen latches on February 4, 1904, and received it on June 14, 1904. For company history, see 1989.0305.05.
References: Wilhelm Schwarzer, "Compass" (U.S. Patent 723, 041 issued March 17, 1903); Georg Schoenner Jr., "Ruling Pen" (U.S. Patent 762,848 issued June 14, 1904).
Location
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1905
maker
Schoenner, Georg
ID Number
1977.1101.0097
catalog number
1977.1101.0097
accession number
1977.1101
This folding wood and cardboard case is covered with black leather and lined with green velvet. The back is marked: MADE IN GERMANY. Inside the top flap is the trademark for E. O. Richter & Co., which made drawing instruments in Chemnitz, Germany, from 1892 to the 1980s.
Description
This folding wood and cardboard case is covered with black leather and lined with green velvet. The back is marked: MADE IN GERMANY. Inside the top flap is the trademark for E. O. Richter & Co., which made drawing instruments in Chemnitz, Germany, from 1892 to the 1980s. An ivory label inside the case is marked: KOLESCH & CO. (/) 138 FULTON ST. (/) NEW YORK. The set includes:
1) 2-1/2" German silver and steel screwdriver that contains three pencil leads.
2) 3-3/16" German silver pen handle containing four needle points.
3) 6-1/4" German silver dividers with lengthening bar and removable pencil, needle, and pen points. The center hinge is marked: Richter, followed by the Richter trademark.
4) 5-7/8" German silver fixed-leg dividers. The center hinge is marked: Richter, followed by the Richter trademark.
5) 5-1/2" and 5-1/8" wood, German silver, and steel drawing pens.
6) 3-1/2" steel bow pen, bow dividers, and bow pencil. The side of each instrument is marked: D.R.P. (Richter held German patents on several of its drawing instruments.) Below the mark is the Richter trademark. The bow pencil is also marked: Germany.
Richter sold this set, which appears to be complete and original, as model E1612. Kolesch & Company, which distributed the instruments, was a successor to the firm established in the early 19th century by Edmund M. Blunt and operated from 1885 to 1947. In 1917, it sold this set as model 1270R for $20.70. Compare to MA.325684, which appears to be a newer version of the set.
Holton Duncan Robinson (1863–1945) owned this set. He graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1886 and then worked for the civil engineering firm Buck and McNulty in New York City. He then worked on several New York bridges and consulted for the Canadian Northern Railway Company. He partnered with D. B. Steinman in 1920 and designed dozens of bridges in the United States, Canada, Bolivia, Brazil, Australia, Germany, Spain, and Denmark over the next twenty-five years.
References:
Catalogue of E. O. Richter & Co., 5th ed. (Chemnitz, Germany, [1926]), 71, 79; Charles E. Smart, The Makers of Surveying Instruments in America Since 1700 (Troy, N.Y.: Regal Art Press, 1962); Kolesch & Co., Illustrated Catalogue and Price-List, 11th ed. (New York, 1917), 50; D. B. Steinman, "Holton Duncan Robinson, M. ASCE," American Society of Civil Engineers Memoir 1571.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1892-ca 1930
maker
E. O. Richter & Co.
ID Number
2007.0039.01
accession number
2007.0039
catalog number
2007.0039.01
This folding wood and cardboard case is covered with black leather and lined with teal velvet. The back of the case is marked: MADE IN GERMANY. The snaps fastening the case are marked with a ring of decorative letter Ps. The insides of the snaps are marked: C-PM-C (/) C-PM-C.
Description
This folding wood and cardboard case is covered with black leather and lined with teal velvet. The back of the case is marked: MADE IN GERMANY. The snaps fastening the case are marked with a ring of decorative letter Ps. The insides of the snaps are marked: C-PM-C (/) C-PM-C. The letters P and M are superimposed on each other. Inside the top flap is also marked with a backward E and superimposed R and O. This is the trademark for E. O. Richter, a German firm that made mathematical instruments from 1892 to the 1980s. The set includes:
1) 2-1/2" German silver and steel screwdriver containing a metal bar and a pen nib.
2) 3-1/8" German silver pen handle containing four needle points.
3) 6-1/4" steel dividers with removable needle, pencil, and pen points, and extension bar. The center hinge is marked: Richter, followed by the Richter trademark.
4) 5-5/8" steel fixed-leg dividers. The center hinge is marked: Richter, followed by the Richter trademark.
5) 5-1/8" steel and 4-7/8" wood, German silver, and steel drawing pens. The blades are marked: PAT. AUG 9, 92 (/) MAY 7, 95. The backs of the blades are marked: T. A. & SON. These marks indicate the pens were made by Theodore Alteneder & Sons of Philadelphia. The pens do not fit their slots in the case and may not be original to the set.
6) 4-1/4" steel bow dividers, bow pencil, and bow pen. The side of each instrument is marked: D.R.P. (Richter held German patents on several of its drawing instruments.) Below the mark is the Richter trademark.
The Smithsonian received this object in 1964. A date around 1930 would be consistent with other items received in the accession. The instruments are almost certainly newer than those in the similar set, 2007.0039.01.
References: D. M. Riches, "E. O. Richter," http://www.mathsinstruments.me.uk/page51.html; Ferdinand A. Alteneder, "Drawing Pen" (U.S. Patent 480,541 issued August 9, 1892) and (U.S. Patent 538,811 issued May 7, 1895).
Location
Currently not on view
date made
early 20th century
maker
E. O. Richter & Co.
ID Number
MA.325684
accession number
257193
catalog number
325684
This folding cardboard and wood case is covered with black morocco leather and lined with green velvet. The snap for the case is marked: CHICAGO (/) NEW YORK.
Description
This folding cardboard and wood case is covered with black morocco leather and lined with green velvet. The snap for the case is marked: CHICAGO (/) NEW YORK. Between the words is the trademark for the Eugene Dietzgen Company, superimposed letters E and D surrounded by the letters Co. Inside the top flap is marked: EUGENE DIETZGEN CO. (/) CHICAGO—NEW YORK (/) SAN FRANCISCO. NEW ORLEANS. The set includes:
1) 6-1/2" German silver proportional dividers. One leg is marked for lines, and the other is marked for circles. Characters such as a double-barred T are engraved inside both legs.
2) 6-1/4" German silver and steel dividers with removable needle, pencil, and pen points and extension bar.
3) 1-1/2" cylindrical metal case for leads, with three leads and two needle points.
4) 2-3/8" German silver and steel screwdriver. Its storage compartment is empty.
5) 2-3/4" German silver handle.
6) 5-1/2" aluminum and steel drawing pen.
The joint tightener may be missing, but the set appears to otherwise be intact and original. No sets containing proportional dividers were found in Dietzgen catalogs issued between 1902 and 1954, so it is likely that this set was special ordered by an individual or school. This style of case was sold between 1902 and 1931, which is consistent with the dates of other objects received from this donor.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
early 20th century
maker
Eugene Dietzgen Company
ID Number
MA.325683
accession number
257193
catalog number
325683
This folding cardboard case is covered with black leather and lined with green velvet. The front flap is marked: 2089. The Schoenner logo (overlaid S, G, and two intersecting double-headed arrows) is imprinted in silver inside the lid flap.
Description
This folding cardboard case is covered with black leather and lined with green velvet. The front flap is marked: 2089. The Schoenner logo (overlaid S, G, and two intersecting double-headed arrows) is imprinted in silver inside the lid flap. The lid flap also has a red and white sticker marked: Walter (/) Robinson (/) 127 Hawaii (/) Ave. N.E. The set includes:
1) 6-1/4" German silver and steel compass with folding legs and removable pencil point, pen point, and extension bar. Inside one leg is marked: C 32. Inside the other leg is marked: SCHOENNER, GERMANY II. The insertion tips of the pencil point, pen point, and extension bar are marked: 32 C. This compass is not marked with patent information that appears on other Schoenner compasses in the collection; compare to 1977.0279.01, 1989.0305.05, and 1977.1101.0097.
2) 6" German silver and steel dividers with adjustment screw on one leg.
3) 3-3/8" German silver and steel bow pen, bow pencil, and bow dividers.
4) 4-1/2"and 5-1/4" ebony, German silver, and steel drawing pencils.
5) 1-3/8" cylindrical metal case with three pencil leads.
The joint tightener is missing. For Schoenner company history, see 1989.0305.05. The set probably dates to the second quarter of the 20th century.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
20th century
maker
Schoenner, Georg
ID Number
1990.0350.01
catalog number
1990.0350.01
accession number
1990.0350
This cardboard and wood folding case is covered with black imitation leather and lined with green velvet. It fastens with decorative snaps. The front left corner is marked with a serial number: 9226. The back is marked: GERMANY.
Description
This cardboard and wood folding case is covered with black imitation leather and lined with green velvet. It fastens with decorative snaps. The front left corner is marked with a serial number: 9226. The back is marked: GERMANY. A white celluloid plate screwed inside the case is marked: "ANVIL" (/) KEUFFEL & ESSER CO (/) NY. Except for a missing joint tightener, the set is complete and contains:
1) 6-1/4" German silver compass with bendable legs and interchangeable pencil and pen points and lengthening bar. The side of one leg is marked: ECCO Co GERMANY.
2) 6-1/8" German silver and steel dividers with removable point. The side of one leg is marked: ECCO Co GERMANY.
3) 4-9/16" and 5-9/16" steel drawing pens with black plastic handles. Both handles are marked: ECCO Co (/) GERMANY.
4) 3-1/2" steel bow pencil, bow pen, and bow dividers.
5) 1-3/8" cylindrical metal case with three needle points and one pencil lead.
In 1927 Keuffel & Esser, the prominent New York manufacturer and retailer of mathematical instruments, began to sell drawing instruments made in Germany by the Ecco firm as its Anvil product line. These were marketed to students and others who needed quality instruments at a reasonable price. This set was sold as model number N996; it was priced at $13.75 in 1927 and $18.00 in 1936. K&E's ability to import these instruments was interrupted by World War II. When the company began selling the Anvil line again by 1954, this set was not advertised in K&E catalogs. The Smithsonian acquired the set before 1984, when it was found in the collections.
References: Catalogue and Price List of Keuffel & Esser Co., 37th ed. (New York, 1927), 153; Catalogue and Price List of Keuffel & Esser Co., 38th ed. (New York, 1936), 154, 166; Hoboken Historical Museum, "Drawing set, similar to Anvil N996," http://hoboken.pastperfect-online.com/32340cgi/mweb.exe?request=record&id=58540708-A327-4DCB-833F-741904390220&type=101.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1927-1942
distributor
Keuffel & Esser Co.
maker
Ecco
ID Number
1990.0316.02
catalog number
1990.0316.02
accession number
1990.0316
This black synthetic leather case is lined with purple velvet and fastens with a snap. The top flap is marked: 1084 S. Inside the flap is marked: DIETZGEN (/) "PREP". A brass plate on the inside front of the case has a paper label handmarked: WIELER.
Description
This black synthetic leather case is lined with purple velvet and fastens with a snap. The top flap is marked: 1084 S. Inside the flap is marked: DIETZGEN (/) "PREP". A brass plate on the inside front of the case has a paper label handmarked: WIELER. Below the plate is marked: PAT. APPL. FOR. The back of the case is marked: Germany. The set includes:
1) 5-3/8" steel dividers lacking all attachments.
2) 3" aluminum handle missing its lid.
3) German silver and steel 4-1/8" extension bar and 2-1/8" pen and needle point attachments for dividers.
4) 2-1/4" aluminum and steel screwdriver.
5) 1-3/8" aluminum cylindrical case for leads, with two needle points.
6) 5-1/2" aluminum and steel drawing pen. The German silver adjusting screw is marked: DIETZGEN (/) GERMANY.
7) 3-3/4" German silver and steel bow dividers and bow pen. The bow dividers are marked: CHARVOS, INC. U.S.A. The screw on the bow pen is marked: DIETZGEN (/) GERMANY.
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. In 1928, the business began importing these particular instruments to sell as the Prep product line for students. Model number 1084S was then priced at $4.70. By 1936, the set cost $5.45. In 1938, the handles on the pen and screwdriver were painted black and no longer were ridged. The patent referenced on the case is not known.
The large dividers and bow dividers clearly were put into the set later to replace original pieces. Charvoz made sets of drawing instruments in West Germany in the second half of the 20th century. According to the donor, this set of drawing instruments was used by her husband, the electrical engineer Robert H. Wieler (1923–1993). He likely acquired the set around 1937 as a school student.
References: Catalog of Eugene Dietzgen Co., 13th ed. (Chicago, 1928), 144; Catalog of Eugene Dietzgen Co., 14th ed. (Chicago, 1931), 156; Catalog of Eugene Dietzgen Co., 15th ed. (Chicago, 1938), 188.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1928-1937
distributor
Eugene Dietzgen Company
ID Number
1998.0032.01
catalog number
1998.0032.01
accession number
1998.0032
This folding cardboard case is covered with black leather and lined with green velvet. It is fastened with a brass snap that is marked with a pi symbol and with a backward letter R and the letter G. Inside the lid is marked: TECHNICAL SUPPLY Co. (/) SCRANTON PA.
Description
This folding cardboard case is covered with black leather and lined with green velvet. It is fastened with a brass snap that is marked with a pi symbol and with a backward letter R and the letter G. Inside the lid is marked: TECHNICAL SUPPLY Co. (/) SCRANTON PA. The set includes:
1) 6" German silver drawing compass with removable pencil point, pen point, extension bar, and needle point. On one side, the hinge is marked: SCHOENNER. On the other side, the hinge has the Schoenner logo (overlapping S, G, and two two-headed arrows) and the letters: D. R. P.
2) 3-1/4" German silver pen handle.
3) 6" German silver and steel fixed-leg dividers. On one side, the hinge is marked: SCHOENNER. On the other side, the hinge has the Schoenner logo (overlapping S, G, and two two-headed arrows) and the letters: D. R. P.
4) 1-5/16" cylindrical metal case for leads. Three pencil leads are loose in the tray of the wallet case.
5) 5" steel drawing pen. The handle is painted black.
6) 4" steel bow pen and bow pencil.
7) 1" metal joint tightener.
Technical Supply Company sold drawing materials in Scranton, Pa., by 1903. This set does not resemble any of the sets in the firm's 1912 catalog. Compare to 1989.0305.05. For other sets with Schoenner instruments, see 1977.0279.01, 1977.1101.0097, 1979.0868.01, 1990.0350.01, 1990.0690.01, and MA.317925.04.
Dr. Robert P. Multhauf (1919–2004), who owned this set, graduated from Iowa State College in 1941, served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1947, and earned a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1953. He joined the Smithsonian in 1954 and directed the Museum of History and Technology (later the National Museum of American History) from 1966 to 1969. After serving in other positions, he retired from the Smithsonian in 1987. He likely purchased this set early in his career.
References: "Dr. Robert P. Multhauf," Marin Independent Journal, May 15, 2004; Bernard S. Finn, "Robert P. Multhauf, 1919–2004," Technology and Culture 46, no. 1 (2005): 265–273.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1930-1940
maker
Schoenner, Georg
ID Number
1989.3072.01
catalog number
1989.3072.01
nonaccession number
1989.3072
This folding wooden case is covered with black leather and lined with green velvet. Metal snaps that fasten the case are marked: KEUFFEL & ESSER CO. (/) NEW YORK. The back of the case is marked: GERMANY.
Description
This folding wooden case is covered with black leather and lined with green velvet. Metal snaps that fasten the case are marked: KEUFFEL & ESSER CO. (/) NEW YORK. The back of the case is marked: GERMANY. Inside the top flap is marked: PARAGON (/) TRADEMARK (/) KEUFFEL & ESSER CO. N.Y. Inside the bottom flap is marked: I. MOLELLA. This flap has a pocket, but it is empty. The tray at the center of the case contains:
1) 6-1/2" German silver and steel drawing compass with bendable legs and removable pencil and pen points and extension bar. The side of one leg is marked: KEUFFEL & ESSER Co N.Y. (/) GERMANY. The side of the other leg is marked: PARAGON. Inside that leg and on the insertion tip of the attachments is marked: 22.
2) 5-7/8" German silver and steel dividers with adjustable point. The side of one leg is marked: KEUFFEL & ESSER Co N.Y. (/) GERMANY. The side of the other leg is marked: PARAGON. Inside that leg and on the insertion tip of the attachments is marked: 27.
3) 2" cylindrical German silver case with six pencil leads and two needle points.
4) 4" and 5-3/8" wood, German silver, and steel drawing pens. The blades are marked: PARAGON.
5) 3-7/8" German silver and steel bow pen, bow dividers, and bow pencil. On one side, each handle is marked: KEUFFEL & ESSER Co N.Y. GERMANY. On the other side, each handle is marked: PARAGON.
6) 5/8" blue metal joint tightener.
The influential distributor and manufacturer of mathematical instruments, Keuffel & Esser, introduced the Paragon line of drawing instruments in 1901. This set resembles the wallet case sold as model 624AC in 1921 and in 1927 and as model 624ACRX in 1936. The markings are more like those shown in the 1936 catalog, but a horn center sold with that version of the set is missing. The price in 1936 was $39.75. Since the set was imported from Germany, K&E was not able to offer it during World War II. When sales resumed by 1954, the joint tightener was no longer included in the set.
The owner of this set of instruments, Isaac Giancinto Molella (1908–1982), was in the Cornell University class of 1932. In the early 1950s, he worked as an electrical engineer at General Electric—at Electronics Park in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1953, and as a technical representative for the U.S. Air Force at radar sites in North Africa and Europe between 1954 and 1957.
References: Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser Co., 36th ed. (New York, 1921), 78; Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser Co., 37th ed. (New York, 1927), 108; Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser Co., 38th ed. (New York, 1936), 130; Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser Co., 39th ed. (New York, 1943); Catalogue of Keuffel & Esser Co., 42nd ed. (New York, 1954), 118–119.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1936-1942
distributor
Keuffel & Esser Co.
ID Number
1992.0433.01
catalog number
1992.0433.01
accession number
1992.0433
This folding cardboard and wood case is covered with black leather and lined with blue velvet. The inside of the top flap is marked: DIETZGEN (/) COMMANDER (/) TRADE MARK (/) MADE IN U.S.A.
Description
This folding cardboard and wood case is covered with black leather and lined with blue velvet. The inside of the top flap is marked: DIETZGEN (/) COMMANDER (/) TRADE MARK (/) MADE IN U.S.A. The front flap folds open to reveal a leather pocket that held the following instruments (now stored separately):
1) 4" clear plastic semicircular protractor divided to single degrees and marked in both directions by tens from 10 to 170. The protractor is marked: DIETZGEN 1928.
2) 4" clear plastic semicircular protractor divided to single degrees and marked in both directions by tens from 10 to 170. The protractor is marked: NOBEMA, N. Y. C.
3) 8-1/2" clear plastic triangle marked: CARDINELL[E PROD]UCTS (/) PROPERTY AIR . . . MY.
4) 5-1/2" clear plastic triangle marked: DIETZGEN (/) EXCELLO (/) 2017A-4. The Dietzgen trademark is left of the mark, and a drawing of two right triangles on either side of an inverted T is right of the mark.
5) 6-1/4" clear plastic rectangular template with pictures of chemistry equipment. This object is cataloged separately as 1991.0811.02. It is almost certainly newer than the rest of the set.
The main compartment contains:
6) 5-3/4" German silver fixed-leg dividers. One leg is marked: DIETZGEN MADE IN U.S.A.
7) 6-1/4" German silver compass with removable pencil, pen, and needle points and extension bar. One leg is marked: DIETZGEN MADE IN U.S.A.
8) 4-3/4" German silver and steel curve pen. The adjusting screw is marked: DIETZGEN (/) U. S. A.
9) 5/8" German silver and glass center tack.
10) 5" steel and German silver railroad pen with chunky brown wooden handle. The handle is marked: PAT. PEND.
11) 2-3/4" metal handle.
12) 4-1/2", 5", and 5-3/8" steel and German silver drawing pens with chunky brown wooden handles. The tightening screw on each pen is marked: DIETZGEN (/) U. S. A.
13) 2-3/8" steel screwdriver. Its storage compartment is empty.
14) 1-1/2" cylindrical metal case for leads, also empty.
15) 4-1/4" German silver bow dividers, bow pencil, and bow pen. The side of one leg of each instrument is marked: DIETZGEN (/) MADE IN U. S. A. The legs are also marked: PAT. 2065472 (/) PAT. PENDING.
These instruments are heavily tarnished, probably from off–gassing by the plastic instruments. Adolph Langsner and William H. Lerch, both of Chicago, received patent number 2,065,472 for an improvement to the mounting used to secure the needle in bow instruments. They subsequently assigned the patent to the Eugene Dietzgen Company of Chicago.
Dietzgen introduced the American-made Commander line of drawing instruments between 1938 and 1942, when the preferred German-made instruments were unavailable due to World War II. Sets of Commander instruments were sold at least as late as 1954. However, this particular set was not found in Dietzgen catalogs. The company applied for the Excello trademark in 1945. NOBEMA was a German firm with an office in New York. No information was found on Cardinelle.
The donor reported that his uncle, Joseph Morrison, a master rigger at the Boston Naval Yard, received the set secondhand from a retired naval architect who may have used it during repairs to the U.S.S. Constitution between 1949 and 1954. Morrison procured the set for his brother, Edward Bradley Morrison, a World War II veteran who was studying interior design and drafting under the G.I. Bill.
References: Adolph Langsner and William H. Lerch, "Pin Mounting" (U.S. Patent 2,065,472 issued December 22, 1936); Catalog of Eugene Dietzgen Co., 15th ed. (Chicago, 1938); Eugene Dietzgen Company, Essential Drawing Instruments and Materials, cat. No. 42A (Chicago, 1942), 22–25; Catalog of Eugene Dietzgen Co., 16th ed. (Chicago, 1949), 116–119; Dietzgen School Catalog (Chicago, 1953–1954), 4–5.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1940s
maker
Eugene Dietzgen Company
ID Number
1991.0811.01
catalog number
1991.0811.01
accession number
1991.0811
This folding cardboard and wood case is covered with black leather and lined with green velvet. It closes with two metal snaps and is marked in the upper right corner: 2300. The back of the case is marked: Made in Germany.
Description
This folding cardboard and wood case is covered with black leather and lined with green velvet. It closes with two metal snaps and is marked in the upper right corner: 2300. The back of the case is marked: Made in Germany. The set includes:
1) 5-7/8" German silver and steel drawing pen with folding point.
2) 5-1/2" and 4-5/8" black plastic and steel drawing pens. The backs of the points are marked: COMPASS (/) GERMANY.
3) 2-3/4" German silver and steel screwdriver.
4) 6-1/4" German silver and steel dividers with removable point and extension bar. The side of one leg is marked: COMPASS (/) GERMANY.
5) 6-1/4" German silver compass with pencil point and bendable legs. The side of one leg is marked: COMPASS (/) GERMANY.
6) 3-3/4" steel bow pencil, bow dividers, and bow pen. Each instrument is marked on the side: COMPASS (/) GERMANY.
7) 1-3/4" and 1-5/16" cylindrical metal cases. The larger case holds two needle points and two tightening screws. The smaller case holds a needle point and pencil lead.
The set appears to be original and complete. Compass Precision Instruments operated in Germany around the middle of the 20th century.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
mid 20th century
maker
Compass Precision Drawing Instruments
ID Number
1989.0305.04
catalog number
1989.0305.04
accession number
1989.0305
This folding case has a wooden base with two cardboard flaps. It is covered with black imitation leather and lined with purple velvet. The case fastens with two snaps marked with the trademark for the Eugene Dietzgen Company. The insides of the snaps are marked: P R Y M (/) 4H.
Description
This folding case has a wooden base with two cardboard flaps. It is covered with black imitation leather and lined with purple velvet. The case fastens with two snaps marked with the trademark for the Eugene Dietzgen Company. The insides of the snaps are marked: P R Y M (/) 4H. The front flap is marked: 1252 PJL. The back of the case is marked: GERMANY (/) U.S. ZONE. Inside the top flap is marked: DIETZGEN (/) POLITEK. The set of instruments appears to be original and complete and includes:
1) 6-3/4" fixed-leg needle-point dividers, marked: DIETZGEN GERMANY.
2) 6-3/8" bow pencil with pen point attachment. One leg is marked: DIETZGEN GERMANY.
3) 5" bow pencil with pen point attachment. One leg is marked: DIETZGEN GERMANY. A 6-1/2" extension bar permits this instrument to function as a beam compass.
4) 5-1/2" black plastic and steel drawing pen marked: DIETZGEN GERMANY. The adjusting screw is numbered by twos from 0 to 8.
5) 3-1/16" black plastic and steel pen handle.
6) 2-1/2" blue screwdriver with German silver handle.
7) 1-1/16" black metal joint tightener.
8) 5/16" German silver thumbtack.
Except as noted, the instruments may be made of a chromium-plated hard alloy. The reference to the American occupation zone after World War II dates this set to between 1945 and 1955. Neither the Politek brand nor model number were mentioned in Dietzgen's 1949 catalog. The Extens-o-Leg compass attachment was advertised in a 1953–1954 catalog for schools, further suggesting that the set was not manufactured until after 1950.
References: Catalog of Eugene Dietzgen Co., 16th ed. (Chicago, 1949); Dietzgen School Catalog (Chicago, 1953–1954), 12.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1950-1955
distributor
Eugene Dietzgen Company
ID Number
1989.0305.03
catalog number
1989.0305.03
accession number
1989.0305

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