Richard P. Baker (1866-1937) was an Englishman, educated at Oxford and the University of London. Around the turn of the century he moved to Chicago and started a business selling mathematical models to universities. His first catalogue, in 1905, contained descriptions of 100 models, which he hoped to craft in a made-to-order fashion that would set him apart from the other model-makers and their standardized collections. His catalogue shows an enormous range, including solid geometry, projective geometry, algebraic geometry, Riemann surfaces, surfaces from the theories of electromagnetism and thermodynamics, and representations of probability distributions. The catalogue numbers in this set and the quotations are from Baker's catalogue. Other Baker models are the Ruled Surfaces 55 (Baker No. 76), 56 (Baker 84), and 57 (Baker No. 143), the Mathematical Demonstrations 103 (Baker No. 89) and 102 (Baker No. 310), and probably also the Wire Models 94, 95, and 96.

Baker obtained an academic appointment in 1905 at the University of Iowa, where he spent the remainder of his professional life. He was awarded a Ph.D by the University of Chicago in the 1910-1911 academic year (the title of his dissertation was 'The Problem of the Angle Bisectors'). His research dealt with problems in algebra and algebraic geometry, including the theory of determinates and algebraic aspects of the geometric approach to solving systems of polynomial equations. His mathematical models continued to be available, however, through his professorship.

After his death in 1937, his daughter Frances E. Baker, then on the faculty at Mt. Holyoke (she later moved to Vassar) advertised his remaining stock of models for sale. In the late 1940's, Professor Graesser of the University of Arizona, the then Mathematics Department Chairman, contacted her and obtained the models in this collection. Although there are collections of Baker models in other Mathematics Departments, few are so extensive.