The firm was founded in 1867 by William J D Keuffel and Hermann Esser to sell drawing materials and instruments. They brought out their first catalogue in 1868. The firm and its products grew steadily and they sold products made in their own factory and bought in from Europe. In the twentieth century they also became a leading supplier of optical instruments.
A “Paragon” drop bow compass made in Germany for Keuffel and Esser of New York. Also known as pump compasses these can be used to draw very fine circles as the whole body of the compass is rotated about the long needle which passes through it. This one dates from the mid-twentieth century.
Keuffel & Esser “MINUSA” set from the 1940s/50s. These instruments were introduced during World War I when German instruments could no longer be imported to the USA and reintroduced during World War II. “MINUSA” stood for “Made in USA”
Keuffel & Esser Doric ‘Favorite N9526C’ set, ca.1950, made in Germany. Square pattern instruments, sometimes also referred to as American pattern due to their popularity in the USA long after they had been superceded by flat pattern instruments in Europe. A small ruling pen, screwdriver and box of spares are missing, but what can you expect for 99 pence!
A "Leroy 61 2935" lettering set by Keuffel & Esser of New York, dating from the 1960s. The set contains a range of seven templates (two are additions) for different sizes of lettering, pens and handle, scriber and stand. It is complete with outer card case and some leaflets.
Scriber, made in Japan, for use with Leroy lettering set.
K&E Leroy Height & Slant Control Scriber no. 61 0020 for use with the Leroy lettering set. It permits variation in height of 60% to 150% and slant from 0 to 45 degrees forward for the characters on the template used. It is complete with green card box and instructions.
Keuffel & Esser, Morristown, NJ, 07860. Made in the USA.
K&E 61 0300-50CL Leroy lettering template for no 4/0 pen. Mint boxed, still in original polythene sleeve. Made in Japan.
Leroy Basic Lettering Set 61 2920 in mahogany box. It also has a green card outer case. The set was sold with just three stencils and three pens together with the usual adjustable scriber & stand, pen holder, lead clutch, etc. Spaces were provided for additional stencils and pens. In this instance all eleven stencil slots have been filled and a twelfth stencil is located in the space for other accessories. The set dates from ca. 1963 and was originally the property of a surveying engineer who worked for oil companies.
Keuffel & Esser Barch-Payzant (freehand) lettering pens set. The box is for the 3225 set that would normally contain pens 1 to 6 but is overstamped “SPECIAL” and actually contains pens 000, 00, 0, 2, 4, and 6. Some of the pens have patent dates on them (Pat Feb 1 21 Jun 1 26). Only the largest pen seems to have been used.
Sigsbee’s Patent Parallel Rule made by Keuffel & Esser with its original card box. The addresses on the label are those for about 1900 but the rule and box appear never to have been used. Inset rubber push pieces enable the rule to be held without slipping whilst the pivoting arrangement allows the arm being moved to be held clear of the paper or chart.