Object Record

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Title U.S. Navy Bu[reau]. Nav. MK II No. 51,1935, Drafting Machine. Sold by Keuffel & Esser Co., New York, no date, circa 1935.
Object Name Machine, Drafting
Catalog Number 2009.006.0254
Collection Keuffel & Esser Company Collection
Credit Museum Collections. Gift of a friend of the Museum.
Description U.S. Navy Bu[reau]. Nav. MK II, No. 51,1935, [Plotting or Drafting Machine.] Sold by Keuffel & Esser Co., New York, no date, circa 1935. Metal with wood, 18" arms; single blade protractor head; in original wooden box with hinged lid.

This item has the K&E name on it, but it was probably manufactured by the Universal Drafting Machine Company of Cleveland, Ohio, as the scales are marked with their name. K&E may have made some minor changes to it (wood knob?), but Universal had been making such machines since the World War I era (and possibly earlier.) No such machines designed and made by K&E appeared in catalogs until 1949. While not manufactured by K&E, it is important as an example of contract work for the government and military that led to their own development of a product line for civilian use.

This particular one is likely to have been used the Navy at a plotting table of a firing control [fire-control] station aboard a ship or submarine. Early research has found this type of machine used in WWI on submarines and some general references of this type of item up to World War II mostly as a manual back-up to more sophisticated systems for targeting weapons. Note the single metal anchor pivot post (or pin) on the end where later machines had an anchor clamp. This attachment point may have been for its use on a fixed surface designed for its positioning in a hole built into the surface or this kit may be lacking the clamp - see notes below on accessories. (A reference image is attached showing a typical set-up.) Also notable are the steel band tension belts.

Accessories included: 2 scales: wood with white celluloid beveled edges, graduated scales marked in black on upper edge only; one is 12-3/4" long, the other is 18-3/4" long; adjustment socket wrench; bakelite board with 22 metal posts and stenciled markings (unknown what its purpose is; may not be original to the kit.)

Lacking: anchor clamp - two wood posts in the fitted interior point to where this missing part may have been stored in the case; case is fitted for three scales but only 2 are present; a second leather sleeve at the left is empty, but appears to have had a part at one time - possibly a tightening wrench.

K&E metal plate on exterior of box with the last listed branch office being Montreal would date this item as no later than 1936. Item is marked on the scale holder: U.S. Navy Bu. Nav. | Keuffel & Esser Co., New York | MK [Mark] II No. 51,1935.

Each of the scale rules is marked: "Universal Drafting Machine Co., Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A." and "U.S. Std"
Below below the graduated edge-
12-3/4": "Yards-C.S. Chart Scale 1 - 40000"
18-3/4": "Yards-C.S. Chart Scale 1 - 80000"

K&E had their main office and factories in Hoboken when this item was made.

Date 1934-1936
Year Range from 1934
Year Range to 1936
Search Terms K & E
Keuffel & Esser Co.
U.S. Navy
Caption drafting or plotting machine with shorter scale
Imagefile 071\20090060254-2.JPG
Classification Drafting
Business & Commerce