Eagle Pencil Company Model 569 Compass and Divider

Eagle Pencil Company Model 569 Compass and Divider

Usage conditions apply
This metal compass is noticeably corroded. The compass is held together by a screw at the top. A spring inside the mechanism below the screw allows the two legs to be squeezed together. The mechanism is marked on both sides: EAGLE PENCIL CO. (/) NEW YORK (/) PAT. DEC.11.1894 (/) PAT. GT.BRITAIN. The legs are embossed with a floral pattern. The two needle points slide into slots at the end of each leg. One point is made of the same metal as the compass. The other point is a metal that does not corrode, possibly German silver. The German silver point is reversible and holds a pencil lead in its other end.
German immigrant Heinrich Berolzheimer opened Eagle Pencil Company as a pencil shop in New York City in 1856, with a factory in Yonkers. By 1880, the firm made mechanical pencils as well as pens and erasers. In 1969, the company changed its name to Berol Corporation, and the Empire Pencil Corporation purchased it in 1986. Harrison Cole of Columbus, Ohio, applied on April 16, 1894, for a patent on a braking screw bolt that would help compasses or dividers stay set in position and received it on December 11 that year. The Brown University mathematics department donated this instrument to the Smithsonian in 1973. Compare to 1981.0933.17.
References: Harrison Cole, "Drawing Instrument" (U.S. Patent 530,680 issued December 11, 1894); "Eagle Divider and Compass," School Journal 56 (1898): 389.
Currently not on view
Object Name
compass, drawing
date made
ca 1900
Eagle Pencil Company
place made
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 1 cm x 13 cm x 3.2 cm; 13/32 in x 5 1/8 in x 1 1/4 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Brown University Department of Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Dividers and Compasses
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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Came into possession of Eagle Compass & Divider No.569. What a beautiful piece of work. I cannot seem to get the lead to stay in the holder when I try to use it as a compass. Any thoughts or suggestions?
To Bob Elbertson - Unscrew the pencil lead holder to open it up, drop in a piece of pencil lead, and screw it back in to tighten/hold in place. I dont know what the right lead size is, but I whittled down a piece of a golf pencil with a utility knife and it fit perfect.

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