Flemish Ell

This square, tapering wooden rule has a brass tip around the narrow end. Three sides are finely carved with fruit and vines, possibly oranges and pineapples. The fourth side is marked with inlaid brass dots: ANNO IIV DB 1757 NAVW. Inlaid brass bars provide measuring marks that are 1, 3.8, 6, 10.2, 18.7, 26, and 53 cm from the wide end. The spacing of the marks is similar to those on MA*318246. The overall length of the rule is 70 cm (27-1/2"), which is close to the usual length for a Flemish ell (68.6 cm, 27").
Reference: Herbert Arthur Klein, The Science of Measurement: A Historical Survey (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974), 57.
Currently not on view
Object Name
scale rule
date made
ca 1757
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
wood (overall material)
overall: 2.5 cm x 70 cm x 2.6 cm; 31/32 in x 27 9/16 in x 1 1/32 in
place made
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Rule, Measuring
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
Additional Media

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