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A spherometer is a device used primarily for measuring the curvature of objects such as lenses and curved mirrors. For further information about spherometers, see object MA.315739. This rather large spherometer measures 6 ¾ inches in height. It has both a vertical scale and horizontal scale on the disc. To improve accuracy, a magnifying lever is mounted on the top of the micrometer disc. The two small arms would have pointed to a secondary scale that arched over the top of the device but is now missing. This spherometer belonged to Bowdoin College. It has no markings but most likely was purchased from an educational instrument maker in the 19th century. It is accompanied by an optical flat used to zero the device (object 2001.0217.08)
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1800s
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 17 cm x 11.5 cm x 10.7 cm; 6 11/16 in x 4 17/32 in x 4 7/32 in
overall: 6 11/16 in x 4 1/2 in x 4 in; 16.98625 cm x 11.43 cm x 10.16 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Department of Physics and Astronomy, Bowdoin College
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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