- Established in 1879, the U.S. Geological Survey tested distance measurers to see which best suited their purposes. Those that failed muster were sent to the Smithsonian in 1907. This bell odometer—so-called because a bell rings for every revolution of the wheel—is one of those instruments. The “S. H. DAVIS & CO. / BOSTON, MASS. U.S.A.” inscription on the dial refers to a hardware store that advertised this type of instrument.
- The form came on the market in 1893. Originally made for horse-drawn vehicles, it was later adapted for automobiles. The Bell Odometer Works began in Washington, D.C., and later moved to Oakmont, Pa.
- Ref: “The Improved Bell Odometer,” Scientific American 72 (1895): 405.
- Currently not on view
- Object Name
- date made
- around 1900
- Bell Odometer Works
- overall: 2 in x 2 13/16 in x 3 1/2 in x 2 3/8 in; 5.08 cm x 7.14375 cm x 8.89 cm x 6.0325 cm
- overall: 3 7/16 in x 2 13/16 in x 2 in; 8.73125 cm x 7.14375 cm x 5.08 cm
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
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