Pair of Charles Bruning 2711P Chain Scales with Drafting Machine Mounts


Along one edge, both of these beveled white molded plastic rules have scales for 1" to a foot, 1/2" to a foot, and divided to 1/2" and numbered from left to right by twos and by ones. The 18-1/2" rule is numbered from 0 to 32 and from 0 to 17, and the 12-1/2" rule is numbered from 0 to 20 and from 1 to 11. The other edge has scales for 1/4" to a foot, 1/8" to a foot, and divided to 1/8" and numbered from left to right by fours and by twos. The larger rule is numbered from 0 to 140 and from 0 to 46, and the smaller rule is numbered from 0 to 92 and from 0 to 46. Both rules are marked: 1 1/2 (/) CHARLES BRUNING CO. (/) 1/8 1/4.

Both ends of both rules have aluminum mounts for attaching to a drafting machines. The mounts are marked: VARD INC. (/) PATENT NO. (/) 2192422. Vard Beecher Wallace (1901–1988) of Sierra Madre, Calif., applied for a patent for these attachments in 1939 and received it the next year. He and a partner, Paul H. Ford, operated Vard Mechanical Laboratory, which supplied drafting machines to aircraft engineers such as Allen Lockheed and Jack Northrop, for whom Wallace had previously worked. The firm was renamed Vard, Inc., by 1945 and was purchased by Royal Industries in 1959. See also 1998.0032.12.

Charles Bruning (1866–1931) was born in Denmark and immigrated to the United States. In Chicago during the 1890s, he became interested in the blue print business. In 1897 he set up his own blue printing company in Manhattan, which was incorporated as the New York Blue Print Paper Company in 1901. Around 1920 he purchased American Blue Print Company of Chicago, and the combined firms became known as the Charles Bruning Company, Inc.

The company began selling these rules in white plastic as model 2711P, style B, in 1952. According to the donor, the instrument was used by her husband, the electrical engineer Robert H. Wieler (1923–1993).

References: Vard B. Wallace, "Drafting Instrument Chuck and Wrench" (U.S. Patent 2,192,422 issued March 5, 1940); Bruce Butler, "Vard Wallace," Glendora Friends Church blog, May 3, 2010,; Patrick Conyers and Cedar Phillips, Pasadena 1940–2008, Images of America (Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing, 2009), 59; "Charles Bruning," New York Times (January 31, 1931), 14; Charles Bruning Company, Inc., General Catalog, 15th ed. (New York, 1952), 176.

Date Made: 1952–1959

Maker: Charles Bruning Company

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Illinois, Chicago

Subject: MathematicsDrafting, Engineering


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Mathematics, Science & Mathematics, Scale Rules


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Norma P. Wieler

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1998.0032.13Catalog Number: 1998.0032.13Accession Number: 1998.0032

Object Name: scale rulesscale rules

Physical Description: aluminum (overall material)plastic (overall material)Measurements: overall: .7 cm x 32 cm x 4.5 cm; 9/32 in x 12 19/32 in x 1 25/32 in


Record Id: nmah_694136

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