Stanley Rule and Level Co. Meter Stick for American Metric Bureau


The Stanley Rule and Level Company made this square maple meter stick around 1880 for the American Metric Bureau (AMB). The AMB intended to use the rule to teach the metric system—unlike other rules on the market that had both British and metric units, this one had only metric markings—but the AMB's secretary, Melville Dewey, also hoped to make his personal fortune from selling metric supplies. One side of the stick is plain. The next is divided along both edges to millimeters and numbered by tens of centimeters from 10 to 90. The next side is graduated in centimeters by alternate markings of black paint. It is numbered by tens from 10 to 90. The fourth side is divided into decimeters, with alternate decimeters in plain wood or black paint. It is numbered by ones from 1 to 9. The fourth decimeter is marked: AM. METRIC BUREAU (/) BOSTON. The sixth decimeter is marked: STANLEY RULE (/) & LEVEL Co. (/) NEW BRITAIN. CONN. Compare to 1990.3012.01.

References: Peggy Aldrich Kidwell, "Publicizing the Metric System in America from F. R. Hassler to the American Metric Bureau," Rittenhouse 5 (1991): 111–117; Peggy Aldrich Kidwell, Amy Ackerberg-Hastings, and David Lindsay Roberts, Tools of American Mathematics Teaching, 1800–2000 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 187–190; Philip E. Stanley, Boxwood & Ivory: Stanley Traditional Rules, 1855–1975 (Westborough, Mass.: The Stanley Publishing Company, 1984), 70.

Date Made: ca 1880

Maker: Stanley Rule and Level Company

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Connecticut, New Britain

Subject: MathematicsRule, Measuring


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


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1979.0992.10Accession Number: 1979.0992Catalog Number: 1979.0992.10

Object Name: scale rulerule

Physical Description: wood (overall material)Measurements: overall: 2.1 cm x 100 cm x 2.1 cm; 13/16 in x 39 3/8 in x 13/16 in


Record Id: nmah_904682

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