Keuffel & Esser 8883 Triangular Chain Scale

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
Object Name
scale rule, triangular
scale, triangular
date made
ca 1928
Keuffel & Esser Co.
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
place made
United States: New York, New York
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Scale Rules
Science & Mathematics
Drafting, Engineering
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 William J. Ellenberger
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.

Enter the characters shown in the image.