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Quirky Collections: Vintage & Antique Rulers

Lufkin and Stanley folding rulers

I’m terrible at math and I always joke that I went to art school to avoid working with numbers. So is it a bit quirky that I now find myself collecting antique rulers? Yep probably. I appreciate the graphic quality of the numbers and lines and the various fonts used throughout the years. The practical functionality of a ruler is also a plus.

H. Chapin folding ruler – made in Conn. 1826 – 1929

Vintage rulers offer a lovely patina

People have been measuring stuff for as long as they’ve been around. Using anything they had such as string, rope, arms, feet, pieces of wood. The earliest rulers were marked with inches in the 17th century, which aided in the standardization of measurement.

Antique Boxwood Foldable Rulers

Folding rulers made sense for craftsmen, carpenters and the like who needed them to be portable and durable. For more history on these rules visit the blog of Eisenhardt Mills, Easton, PA.

Vintage Rulers Photo Holder

Stacking folding rulers

Folding rulers can be useful beyond just measuring. Stack a few and use them to hold photos, business cards or postcards. As usual, Pinterest has about a billion other clever ideas for using vintage and antique folding rulers.

Stanley and Lufkin brand folding or zig-zag rules

I’ve noticed recently that these rulers can be pricey. I usually just pick up ones at yard sales or flea markets that are in decent shape and have something interesting about them for under $5.00.

Zig-zag rulers with brass slide which slides out from the edge

I probably won’t ever get really into collecting the rare and valuable ones. I just get a kick out of stumbling on these little pieces of history and gradually adding to my quirky collection.

Small and Growing Collections

I started writing about quirky collections, thinking I didn’t have many collections to share. I thought I’d be writing about other people’s collections. Well, apparently I’ve got more of these little collections than I thought. So far I’ve shared my globes, thumb push toys, airline plates and paint by number art. It’s funny what catches our eyes and compels us to collect. Isn’t there a saying that if you have 3 or more of something you have a collection?

What’s your quirky collection?

I’d love to hear about what you collect. If you have a quirky collection you’d like to share on our blog let me know.

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