Keuffel & Esser 8883 Triangular Chain Scale

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This 12-inch triangular boxwood rule is grooved on each side. One side has scales divided to 1/10" (numbered by ones from 0 to 12) and 1/50" (numbered by twos from 0 to 60). This side is marked: 8883 K & E SCHOOL QUALITY. The second side has scales divided to 1/20" (numbered by ones from 0 to 24) and 1/40" (numbered by twos from 0 to 48). The third side has scales divided to 1/30" (numbered by twos from 0 to 36) and 1/60" (numbered by fours from 0 to 72).
William J. Ellenberger (1908–2008), who donated this object, studied electrical and mechanical engineering at The George Washington University between 1925 and 1934. He then worked for the Potomac Electric Power Company and the National Bureau of Standards. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. He was a civilian construction management engineer for the army from 1954 to 1968, when he became a private consultant.
Keuffel & Esser sold model 8883 from at least 1928. Sometime after 1928, K&E made this ruler out of plastic instead of boxwood.
References: "The GW Engineering Hall of Fame 2006 Inductees,"; "The Nature of Radio and Electricity," Radio Broadcast 13 (July 1928): 135.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1928
Keuffel & Esser Co.
place made
United States: New York, New York
Physical Description
boxwood (overall material)
overall: 2 cm x 32 cm x 2 cm; 25/32 in x 12 19/32 in x 25/32 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of William J. Ellenberger
Drafting, Engineering
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Scale Rules
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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