Folding Yardstick with Comparative Measures

Description:

This European brass rule consists of twelve segments, ten that are 10.5 cm (4-1/4") long and two that are 9.6 cm (3-3/4") long. The segments are riveted together end to end to form a rule about 104 cm (41") long. On one side the rule has scales for Paris and London inches, numbered by ones from 1 to 36. The other side has scales for Venice and Vienna inches, numbered by ones from 1 to 36. On each of the four scales, the first inch is divided to 1/12" and the rest are divided to 1/2".

According to the rule, the Paris inch was 1-3/32" long, the London inch was 1", the Venice inch was 1-1/8", and the Vienna inch was 1-1/32". These lengths are within range of the pre-metric system national standards reported by contemporary arithmetic textbooks and modern historians.

References: Charles Hutton, A Philosophical and Mathematical Dictionary, new ed. (London, 1815), ii:35–36; Philip E. Stanley, A Source Book for Rule Collectors (Mendham, N.J.: Astragal Press, 2003), 242–252.

Date Made: 18th century

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: Europe

Subject: MathematicsRule, Measuring

Subject:

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

Exhibition:

Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Hermon W. Farwell

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: MA.335403Accession Number: 319921Catalog Number: 335403

Object Name: rule, foldingscale rule, folding

Physical Description: brass (overall material)Measurements: overall: .1 cm x 105 cm x 1.1 cm; 1/32 in x 41 11/32 in x 7/16 in

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a7-6229-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_904468

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.