Object Record

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Catalog Number 01.C.74
Object Name Set, Drafting
Title Drafting Instruments
Artist McAllister & Co.
Place of Origin Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Date 1830-39
Description Nine instruments housed in original wooden case covered in leather or sharkskin. The top of the case is hinged at one side, and held shut by a snap fastening. Inside the top is a printed label: "McAllister & Co./48 Chestnut Street/Philadelphia. Have constantly for sale, cases of/Mathematical Instruments/For Schools, Wholesale & Retail/Dividers, Gunter's Scales, Parallel Rules, Brass and Ivory Protractors, etc. separate from the case." Around the wall of the top is pasted a strip of paper, bearing handwritten inscriptions - "$3 1/4 /N60K/n fli/gfi DW Mr/ No 160-9/str purchd March 18 1847/of McAllister." Contains nine drafting instruments: divider, compass with five attachments, ivory scale, parallel rule, and scaled semicircle.
Label In the 19th century, people in many disciplines, including surveying, cartography, architecture, and design, used sets of drawing instruments like this one. American retailers such as the Philadelphia firm of McAllister sold these sets, often manufactured in France, Germany, England, and Switzerland. McAllister began selling carriage whips and canes in the 1780s. By the 19th century, it was a nationally-known retailer of commercial photographs and scientific items, including optical equipment, telescopes, microscopes, and drawing instruments for professional and educational use. McAllister advertised a wide range of instruments and drawing sets, from the "extra fine" Swiss instruments to German ones, "not equal to the Swiss," and brass instrument sets for students.
Dimension Details Case: 6.875 x 3 x 1.125
Ruler: 6 with .0625 decoration
Unknown 1: 9.125 (stretched)
Protractor: 1.8125 x 3.5625
Unknown 2: 3.3125
Unknown 3: 4.1875
Unknown 4: 3.5625
Unknown 5: 3.25
Unknown 6: 2.4375
Unknown 7: 5.8125
Credit line American Philosophical Society. Gift of Marshall B. Davidson, 26 January 1976.
Search Terms 19th century
nineteenth century
mathematics
measurement
science
surveying
navigation