A. H. Abbott & Co. Ruler

This one-sided boxwood rule is beveled along both long edges. The top edge is divided to half-inches and numbered from 0 to 5. The half-inch points are numbered by twos from 0 to 8. The last half-inch is divided into 12 parts, and the inch to the right of the scale is divided into 24 parts. The other edge is divided to quarter-inches, numbered from left to right by fours from 0 to 44 and numbered from right to left by twos from 0 to 22. The ends of the scale divide 1/8" and 1/4", respectively, into 12 parts.
The ruler is marked on its interior: A. H. ABBOTT & Co. (/) CHICAGO. It is also marked: U.S.ST'D. Initials are scratched on the ruler: W.F.M. Abbott sold art supplies and mathematical instruments in Chicago in the 19th and 20th centuries. This ruler is not shown in the company's 1896 catalog, but it was advertised for 50¢ in the 1906 catalog. The initials may refer to William F. Meggers (1888–1966), an American spectroscopist long associated with the U.S. National Bureau of Standards. He received his B.A. in physics from Ripon College in 1910, his M.A. in physics from the University of Wisconsin in 1916, and his Ph.D. in physics, mathematics, and astronomy from Johns Hopkins University in 1917.
References: A. H. Abbott & Co., Drawing Material: Mathematical and Surveying Instruments of Every Description (Chicago, 1906), 185; "Dr. Meggers Dies at 78," The NBS Standard 11, no. 9 (December 1966): 2–3.
Currently not on view
Object Name
scale rule
date made
ca 1906
A. H. Abbott & Co.
Physical Description
boxwood (overall material)
overall: .4 cm x 17.1 cm x 3.2 cm; 5/32 in x 6 23/32 in x 1 1/4 in
place made
United States: Illinois, Chicago
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Measuring & Mapping
Scale Rules
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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