Flexible Ruler Invented by Frank G. Hunt

Frank G. Hunt of Buffalo, N.Y., designed this flexible steel rule for drawing straight lines on curved surfaces, such as those of ledger books. The rule has no scales, but it has a small round metal handle in the middle of the front. Nine rectangular clips on the back hold several layers of paper covered by a metal rectangle. The middle clip is marked: EXP. ACC'T. F. G. HUNT (/) PAT'D. FEB.25.02 (/) BUFFALO, N.Y. Hunt distributed the rule via the Hunt Ruler Company in Buffalo at least as late as 1920. By 1922, he had passed away but the firm was expanding.
References: Frank G. Hunt, "Flexible Ruler" (U.S. Patent 694,061 issued February 25, 1902); "Buyers' Reference Bureau: Rulers: Metal or Steel," The American Stationer and Office Outfitter 86, no. 18 (May 8, 1920): 102; "Hunt Ruler Company Expanding," Office Appliances 36 (July 1922): 49; Buffalo Historical Society, "Buffalonians More or Less Noted, Who Died in 1922," in Reports of the President and Secretary (Buffalo, 1923), 46.
Currently not on view
Object Name
scale rule
rule, flexible
date made
1902–ca 1922
inventor; patentee
Hunt, Frank G.
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
paper (overall material)
overall: 1.5 cm x 45.6 cm x 3.6 cm; 19/32 in x 17 15/16 in x 1 13/32 in
place made
United States: New York, Buffalo
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Scale Rules
Science & Mathematics
Drawing Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Scale Rules
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Robert M. and June W. Leonard
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Approved comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about your own artifacts or comment on their value, rarity, or collectibility.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.