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Today’s featured set is a very nice quality wallet case originally retailed by the University of Toronto Engineering Society. It was interesting to discover that this society still exists today, thought to the oldest formal engineering organization in Canada having been established as long ago as 1885.

University of Toronto Engineering Society Dietzgen Federal wallet set case details

The compasses in this set are clearly from a later date, confirmed by the stamp “PAT 9.9.1922” on the inside leg. Opposite this is a square with the letter “F” which had been puzzling me for some time until a fellow enthusiast pointed out that this was the usual marking for the Dietzgen Federal range. It is funny that Dietzgen had never crossed my mind, even though I knew that the US patent referred to was taken out by German maker Eichmüller (later Ecobra) who was represented in North America by Dietzgen.

University of Toronto Engineering Society Dietzgen Federal wallet set details

Dietzgen’s Federal instruments were similar in design to their flagship Gem Union range, but manufactured with a less refined finish as an economical alternative. Their 1928 catalogue notes that “Compasses and Dividers are equipped with our patented differential straightening device”, to which the patent marking refers.

Returning to the University of Toronto Engineering Society, I was surprised to read that to this day, “The society operates the engineering stores, which supplies students with most of their school supplies and instruments.” Clearly even a century ago they had sufficient clout to procure custom sets from Dietzgen.

Predictably, the present day Engineering Stores no longer sells drawing sets, being mostly focused on clothing and books. However, I must confess to having cracked a wry smile on spotting the sole remaining drawing instrument in their online catalogue: an Aristo TZ-Dreieck set square for CA$6.60. The German connection lives on!

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