Model of a Hyperboloid Osculating a Scroll along a Generator, by Richard P. Baker, Baker #143 (a Ruled Surface)

Model of a Hyperboloid Osculating a Scroll along a Generator, by Richard P. Baker, Baker #143 (a Ruled Surface)

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This geometric model was constructed by Richard P. Baker in the early twentieth century when he was Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Iowa. Baker believed that models were essential for the teaching of many parts of mathematics and physics, and over 100 of his models are in the museum collections.
The typed paper label on the wooden base reads: No. 143 (/) Hyperboloid osculating (/) scroll. In a subsection of the Differential Geometry section of Baker’s 1931 catalog, it is listed as “143. Hyperboloid osculating a scroll along a generator.” A scroll is just another name for a ruled surface and the hyperboloid shown in this model is the yellow quartic scroll shown in Baker’s model No. 84 (MA.211257.010). In this model the blue threads are generators of the hyperboloid and the yellow threads are generators of the unnamed ruled surface. The hyperboloid osculating the scroll implies that, among other things, the two surfaces share a normal at the point of osculation. Unfortunately, Baker did not make it clear which of the generators he is the referring to and the photographs do not make it clear where that occurs.
Richard P. Baker, Mathematical Models, Iowa City, 1931, pp. 8, 12.
Currently not on view
Object Name
geometric model
date made
ca 1906-1935
Baker, Richard P.
Physical Description
thread (overall material)
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
blue (overall color)
black (overall color)
yellow (overall color)
copper (overall color)
screwed, bolted and threaded (overall production method/technique)
average spatial: 27.8 cm x 26.2 cm x 25.6 cm; 10 15/16 in x 10 5/16 in x 10 3/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Frances E. Baker
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Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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