Yardstick Signed PSP

This round wooden yardstick is divided into 16 scales numbered from right to left that divide the foot into various numbers of parts. The scales include: 8 (units of 1 1/2" or 3.8 cm), 9 (1 5/16" or 3.3 cm), 10 (1 3/16" or 3.0 cm), 11 (1 1/16" or 2.7 cm), 12 (1" or 2.6 cm), 13 (11/12" or 2.3 cm), 14 (7/8" or 2.1 cm), 15 (13/16' or 2.0 cm), 16 (3/4" or 1.9 cm), 17 (11/16" or 1.7 cm), 18 (21/32' or 1.6 cm), 19 (5/8" or 1.6 cm), 20 (5/8' or 1.5 cm), 21 (9/16" or 1.5 cm), 22 (17/32" or 1.4 cm), and 23 (1/2" or 1.3 cm) parts per foot. The number of subdivisions per foot is indicated at the right end of each scale, but these marks are badly worn.
The left end of the rule is marked: PSP (/) April 25th (/) 1822. The right end is marked: PSP (/) 1822.
The National Museum of History and Technology, now the National Museum of American History, acquired this calculating stick, probably between 1962 and 1965, for its Growth of the United States exhibition, which opened in 1967 and closed in 1982. See also 1987.0107.05.
Reference: William S. Walker, "A Living Exhibition: The Smithsonian, Folklife, and the Making of the Modern Museum" (Ph.D. diss., Brandeis University, 2007).
Currently not on view
Object Name
scale rule
date made
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
overall: 4 cm x 90.4 cm x 4 cm; 1 9/16 in x 35 19/32 in x 1 9/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Scale Rules
Science & Mathematics
Rule, Measuring
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Scale Rules
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

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