Object Record

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Title Key brand drawing instrument set no. 847, sold by Keuffel & Esser Co., N.Y., n.d., ca. 1880-1900.
Object Name Set, Drafting
Catalog Number 2009.001.0027
Collection Keuffel & Esser Company Collection
Credit Museum Collections.
Description Key brand drawing instrument set no. 847, sold by Keuffel & Esser Co., New York, no date, probably not earlier than 1880 to circa 1900. Bar-lock pocket case: wood with leather covering with black rule frame decoration on top; lettered in brass gilt below bottom left edge of frame: "*Keuffel & Esser Co. New York*" with "847" above it inside frame; at bottom right edge of frame: "Germany"; 9-3/4" wide x 4-1/2" deep x 1" thick, rounded sloped edges on lid and bottom. Fitted interior lined with black velvet; trademark in gilt centered inside lid. Contents: 10 pieces as described below.

While Keuffel & Esser had their main factories in Hoboken during the period when this item was made, offices were in New York. Warehousing was done in both cities. The company imported this type of item until World War I.

Product as usually described in catalogue: Extra Fine German Instruments with Pivot Point, trade [key symbol] mark, of best german silver, fine steel points, highly finished.

K&E catalogue reference materials for pre-1900 offerings of this type of item were unavailable at the time of cataloging. While the set is numbered "847", this is apparently a catalogue number not used for this set after 1900. The object here is similar to the 897 in the 30th edition catalog of 1900 or the 896 N as depicted in 33rd edition of 1909 which was used here to list the contents. Depictions and descriptions of individual instruments correspond strongly to the ones present although dimensions sometimes vary by a small and probably insignificant amount.
Contents (this set lacks one piece as listed, but has one additional related item not called for):
No. 838 Pivot Joint Compass with fixed needle point, pen, pencil point, lengthening bar.
No. 837 Pivot Joint Hairspring Divider
No. 750 Steelspring Divider [side thumbnut]
No. 752 Steelspring Bow Pencil Compass [side thumbnut]
No. 806 4-1/2" Drawing Pen, Ebony Handle, upper black with spring
No. 808 5-1/2" Drawing Pen, Ebony Handle, upper black with spring
No. 830 Box with leads [metal case with sliding cover with Keuffel & Esser New York engraved on it]; contents present: three steel points of varying diameters and lengths; one lead

Lacking: no. 751 Steelspring Bow Pen Compass [side thumbnut]
Unlisted, but present as is typical: plate screwdriver

Additional is another lead box with gun metal finish engraved: Grossberger & Kurz | No. 529 | [key symbol] | Rect Januar.8.1867. (While Grossberger & Kurz were the probable manufacturer of the instruments, the inclusion of the lead box is not a definitive indicator of an exceptionally early date of issue.) Both lead boxes are stored in the one spot for them in case.

Key trademark symbol is found only in the inside of the Nos. 837 and 838 near the pivot. Single digit numerals are also found on those items; other items (except lead boxes) are unmarked.

Case leather is a dark tan or brown on lid which is worn and apparently faded. The dark green on the underside is an indication of the original color.
Date 1880-1900
Year Range from 1800
Year Range to 1910
Search Terms K & E
Keuffel & Esser Co.
Caption instruments in case
Imagefile 067\20090010027.TIF
Notes The Key brand was a mid-priced line imported by K&E and in the Key brand offerings, the 'pivot joint' was the slightly more expensive type of two styles. The set had options for upgrades (such as center thumbnut for the small compasses or dividers), but in general this set was a mid-priced offering.
Classification Business & Commerce