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Catalog Data

Physical Description:
brass (overall material)
steel (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 2 cm x 33 cm x 11.5 cm; 13/16 in x 13 in x 4 1/2 in
Object Name:
dividers
Place made:
Germany: Lower Saxony, Osnabrück
Date made:
1700s
Description:
These brass and steel dividers are joined by a ball-shaped hinge. The steel pointed tips of each leg are approximately 3-1/2" long. The brass portions continue for nearly another 9". A brass arc, or wing, with a circumference of approximately 8-1/2", joins the legs. A butterfly screw allows the arc to be removed. A wing nut tightens the adjustable leg so that the dividers are set in position. On the outsides of the legs, below the two screws, the dividers are stamped with wheels that have six spokes and a small circle at the center. According to a note in the accession file, this mark represents the heraldic symbol of the city of Osnabrück, Germany.
Dividers are alternatively called (non-drawing) compasses, or <i>Zirkel</i> in German. Draftsmen used them to measure distances and to create circles. This pair was probably manufactured in the 18th century.
Reference: Maya Hambly, <i>Drawing Instruments: 1580–1980</i> (London: Sotheby's Publications, 1988), 69–79.
Location:
Currently on loan
Subject:
Mathematics  Search this
Dividers  Search this
ID Number:
MA.322756
Accession number:
248674
Catalog number:
322756
See more items in:
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Dividers and Compasses
Time and Navigation
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a7-3936-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_904335