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Mathematical Treasure: Geometric Model by Harry Wheeler

Peggy A. Kidwell (National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution)

Geometric Model by A. Harry Wheeler, 1915, Smithsonian Institution image AHB2015q061380

A. Harry Wheeler, a schoolteacher in Worcester, Massachusetts, made this small paper model of a sector of a sphere on December 30, 1915. At that time, now a century ago, some 104 mathematicians and mathematics teachers were meeting at Ohio State University to form the Mathematical Association of America. Wheeler wasn’t among them. He’d join the MAA as a charter member the following spring.

Like many good teachers, Wheeler inspired his students. For example, the Smithsonian has a model of two intersecting spheres made in early January of 1916 by Wheeler’s pupil Emile Jandron. It is quite similar in style to this model and a few others Wheeler had made the previous month.

See more paper models by A. Harry Wheeler in Peggy Kidwell's article "Engaging minds: American mathematics 100 years ago." To find out more about mathematical objects associated with charter members of the Mathematical Association of America, see

Peggy A. Kidwell (National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution), "Mathematical Treasure: Geometric Model by Harry Wheeler," Convergence (December 2015)


Mathematical Treasures: Smithsonian National Museum of American History Object Groups