Whalebone Ruler

Description
“Straight edges” or rulers were used aboard ships as writing guides on the unlined pages of letters, journals and logbooks. The back side of this long stick is marked in 2-1/4, 4-1/2 and 9-inch sections, indicating another usage, probably by the ship’s cooper to measure the level of liquid (water, wine, beer or whale oil) in his wooden casks.
Object Name
scrimshaw
scrimshaw yardstick
date made
1800s
collected
1960-07-26
Physical Description
bone (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 34 1/4 in; 86.995 cm
ID Number
TR*61.49
catalog number
TR*61.49
accession number
231930
subject
Transportation
Natural Resources
Work
Cultures & Communities
Industry & Manufacturing
Art
On the Water exhibit
event
Expansion and Reform
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
On the Water exhibit
Exhibition
On the Water
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Avis and Rockwell Gardiner
Publication title
On the Water online exhibition
Publication URL
http://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater
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. Selected 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 the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

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.

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.