National Bureau of Standards Replica Meter Standard

Description
This aluminum bar, with an X-shaped cross-section, is a replica of the platinum international meter prototype housed in Paris and used as a standard for the metric system from 1889 to 1960. On one side, the lower left corner is marked: A.27. The upper right corner is marked: B.27. Like an actual meter standard, the bar is 102 centimeters long and there are marks 1 centimeter from each end on this side to show the precise length of a meter. Compare to 2000.0126.25.
A rectangular walnut case is lined with black felt. A brass plate on the top of the case is marked: REPLICA METER BAR (/) Presented to (/) BENJAMIN L. PAGE (/) Metrologist (/) National Bureau of Standards (/) On the occasion of his retirement (/) December 29, 1961.
Benjamin Lorenzo Page (1894–1977) began working with length standards at the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology) around 1920. He was presented with this replica when he retired. His widow, Helen (Bell) Page, then gave it to one of his colleagues, Rolland Ackermann (1905–1985).
References: Catalog of Artifacts on Display in the NBS Museum, edited by H. L. Mason, NBSIR 76-1125 (Washington, D.C., 1977), 17; Robert P. Crease, World in the Balance: The Historic Quest for an Absolute System of Measurement (New York: W. W. Norton, 2011), 223; Herbert Arthur Klein, The Science of Measurement: A Historical Survey (reprint, New York: Dover, 1988), 185; "Benjamin Lorenzo 'Ben' Page," http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=35098794; Calibrations of the Line Standards of Length of the National Bureau of Standards, by Lewis V. Judson and Benjamin L. Page, RP743, Bureau of Standards Journal of Research 11 (July-December 1933).
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
rule
scale rule
date made
1961
Physical Description
walnut (overall material)
aluminum (overall material)
felt (overall material)
brass (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 5.8 cm x 109 cm x 5.8 cm; 2 9/32 in x 42 29/32 in x 2 9/32 in
place made
United States: District of Columbia, Washington
ID Number
1985.0819.01
accession number
1985.0819
catalog number
1985.0819.01
subject
Mathematics
Rule, Measuring
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Measuring & Mapping
Scale Rules
Metric System
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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