Scale Rules
Rules for Drafting

To create technical drawings such as those presented by the traveling exhibition, Doodles, Drafts, and Designs, draftsmen needed drawing instruments with specialized scales. Most often, their goal was to represent a real-life place or object at a reduced proportion. Thus, drafting rules like those shown on this page were typically marked for making drawings at scales such as 1/8-inch to 1 foot. Sometimes, instead of marking the increments throughout a scale, only the first and last segments of a scale were subdivided to the desired proportion. These were called open divided or architect's scales.

Rules for drafting sometimes had plotting scales. These were divided into equal increments of a useful length, such as 1/2-inch, that could be directly transferred to a drawing such as a surveying map. At both ends, plotting scales typically had diagonal scales. These allowed users to reasonably accurately estimate the decimal division between two markings on a scale. Instruments in this category also may have a line of chords. This projected the distance between the end of a quarter-circle arc and each of the degrees along the arc onto a straight line. Finally, the scales for measuring lengths on rules for drafting were often divided into multiples of 1/10-inch, called chain scales, which were advantageous for activities such as construction or machine work.