Construction Of An Ellipse
An illustration showing how to construct an ellipse using a string. "Having given the two axes, set off from c half the great axis at a and b, which are the two focuses of the ellipse. Take an endless string as long as the three sides in the triangle abc, fix two pins or nails in the focuses, one in a and one in b, lay the string around a and b, stretch it with a pencil d, which then will describe the desired ellipse."
Albert A. Hopkins Scientific America: Handy Book Of Facts And Formulas (New York: Munn & Co., Inc., 1918) 39