Magazine Case of Drawing Instruments

Magazine Case of Drawing Instruments

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Richard G. Smith (about 1891–1936) assembled and used this collection of drawing instruments in his work as a draftsman in Baltimore. His son, also named Richard G. Smith, then used the set early in his career. He apparently added a few of the instruments now found in the set since, for example, the C-Thru template was manufactured after the elder Smith's death.
This 13" by 10" wooden case has a lift-out tray and a pull-out drawer. The lid is lined with green velvet. The top tray contains:
1) 6-1/4" German silver compasses with bendable legs and removable pencil point. The center hinge is marked: PATENT (/) MARCH 17 (/) 1903. Inside one leg is marked: 56. Inside the other leg is marked: SCHOENNER II. On the Schoenner firm of Nuremberg, Germany, see 1989.0305.05.
2) 6" German silver and steel dividers. The center hinge is marked: PATENT (/) MARCH 17 (/) 1903. Inside one leg is marked: SCHOENNER II.
3) 6-1/8" German silver and steel proportional compass. The pieces are each marked: 39.
4) 4" steel bow pen marked: D.R.P. The mark is above an overlaid E, O, and R, the trademark of E. O. Richter, a German instrument maker that operated from 1892 to the 1980s. The letters DRP, or Deutsches Reichspatent, indicate that the firm held an imperial patent.
5) Two 3-3/8" steel bow pencils.
6) 3-3/4" German silver bow pen.
7) 3-3/4" steel bow dividers.
8) German silver beam compasses with removable pencil, pen, and needle points and cylindrical case for needles. Compare to item 1259 in A Manual of the Principal Instruments Used in American Engineering and Surveying, Manufactured by W. & L. E. Gurley, 37th ed. (Troy, N.Y., 1903), 310.
9) 2-1/2" flathead metal screwdriver.
10) 1-1/4" cylindrical case for leads (empty).
11) 2-3/4" metal handle with needle and pencil point inserts.
12) 3-1/4" steel pen point and 3-5/8" lengthening bar that do not fit the Schoenner compass. The end of the bar is marked: 13.
13) 3-3/8", 3-7/8", 4-1/8", 4-1/4" steel, German silver, and ebony drawing pens. The shortest pen is marked: K & E Co. The 4-1/8" pen is marked D.-Co. UNION. The longest is marked: T.A. & SONS. Keuffel & Esser of New York City, the Eugene Dietzgen Company of Chicago, and Theodore Alteneder & Sons of Philadelphia were three of the most prominent American scientific instrument makers and retailers in the 19th and 20th centuries.
14) 4-7/16" German silver and wood drawing pen.
15) 5-3/8" steel, German silver, and wood drawing pen. The point is unusually shaped and has a sliding lever next to the adjusting screw. The handle is marked: PAT. It is also marked with an S inside a circle and with the Dietzgen trademark. It is also marked: 2. The point is marked: 4708. No items numbered 4708 were found in 1904 and 1926 Dietzgen catalogs.
16) 5" steel and wood drawing pen with lever that lifts to widen the pen point and is marked: T. A. & SONS PAT. MAY 7, 95 – SEP. 29, 96. Compare to the Alteneder pen in 1989.0305.05.
17) 5-3/8" steel, German silver, and wood drawing pen with a metal support for the tightening screw.
18) 3-1/2" metal set of 15 convex and 15 concave curve measures, ranging from 17/64" to 1/2". The case is marked: THE L. S. STARRETT CO. (/) ATHOL, MASS. U.S.A. (/) No 178–B. Laroy S. Starrett established this firm in 1880 to manufacture the combination square he invented. The company expanded into precision metrology instruments and saw blades. In 2013 it still sold a version of catalog number 178B, the fillet or radius gage.
The drawer holds:
1) Four 1-1/2" metal cases for pencil leads marked: 2H (/) THE WAHL CO. (/) MADE IN CHICAGO U.S.A. The lids are painted red. The Wahl Company began to make fountain pens and mechanical pencils around 1913. The firm was renamed Wahl-Eversharp in the late 1920s, after its most famous mechanical pencil.
2) 2-1/4" cylindrical wooden case with fountain pen nib, two needle points, small metal screw, and small metal bolt.
3) 5-7/8" yellow plastic triangle with pinholes, hole for hanging, and small opening in interior. The top angle has a picture of a mustachioed man in a hat. Initials are scratched on the back: R S.
4) 4-3/8" yellow plastic triangle. Previous owner has scratched 67 1/2° in one angle, 22 1/2° in the other angle, and R G SMITH in the interior.
5) 4-5/8" white plastic protractor, divided to single degrees and numbered by tens in both directions, positioned at an angle inside an L-shaped frame of rulers. Most of the marks for measurement are no longer legible.
6) 8" clear plastic template with a 6" ruler, divided to 1/8", along the top edge and a protractor, divided to single degrees and numbered by tens in both directions from 10 to 180, at the right end. The instrument is marked: C-THRU RULER COMPANY (/) Hartford, Conn. U.S.A. On the history of C-Thru, see 1990.3130.01.
7) 3-3/4" metal template.
8) 11-9/16" wooden beam for the beam compasses in the tray, with a hole for hanging at one end.
9) 2-5/8" steel point for drawing pen. The handle is broken off; the handle and tightening screw are both missing.
10) Yellow pencil sharpened at both ends and marked: VAN DYKE DRAWING PENCIL EBERHARD FABER. U.S.A. Eberhard Faber's company made pencils and other office supplies in New York City from 1861 until 1956, when manufacturing moved to Wilkes-Barre, Pa. A. W. Faber-Castell acquired the company in 1987. This pencil dates from the 1920s.
11) 5-3/4" metal knife with horn handle in leather case marked: R. G. SMITH. The knife blade is marked: E R (/) J. RODGERS (/) & SONS (/) 6 NORFOLK (/) SHEFFIELD (/) ENGLAND. Joseph Rodgers & Sons registered the logo on the other side of the blade, a star and Maltese cross, in 1764. The firm expanded from pocket knives into cutlery, razors, and scissors in the early 19th century. The Egginton Group purchased the company's name and trademarks in 1986.
12) A small folded piece of metal marked: VISE CLIP (/) G U CO. (/) DIST.
13) Twenty-six slotted metal thumbtacks of varying sizes. Two are unmarked. Two are marked: WEBER PHILA (/) GERMANY. Twenty-two are marked: HAMPDEN (/) No. T1.
14) Six two-holed metal thumbtacks marked: UNIVERSAL DRAFTING MACHINE CO (/) PATS. PDG.
References: D. M. Riches, "E. O. Richter,"; Ferdinand A. Alteneder, "Drawing Pen" (U.S. Patent 538,811 issued May 7, 1895) and (U.S. Patent 568,556 issued September 29, 1896); The L. S. Starrett Company, "Where It Began,"; "New Goods and Lines Discontinued," National Association [of Stationers and Manufacturers] News 6, no. 5 (May 1922) : 4; Dennis B. Smith, "Eberhard Faber Van Dyke/Microtomic Drawing Pencil," Leadholder: The Drafting Pencil Museum,; Egginton Group, "The History of Joseph Rodgers,"
Currently not on view
Object Name
drawing instruments, set of
date made
ca 1910-1950
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
metal (overall material)
steel (overall material)
german silver (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
overall: 6.4 cm x 33 cm x 27 cm; 2 17/32 in x 13 in x 10 5/8 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Richard G. Smith
Drafting, Engineering
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Drawing Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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