Interesting K&E folding ruler/scale
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  1. #1
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    Default Interesting K&E folding ruler/scale

    It is a 24 inch rule with a lot of different scales on it, plus a partial protractor .

    I'm not sure why it came out so dark, it is actually nice and white in reality. Probably the light, no flash used.

    There are a large number of different scales, including twelfths of an inch, and a atandard inch scale. The edge has another scale on it, which appears to be a 1 3/16" per division scale. It seems to have been made by a British firm for K&E, as the engraved marks appear to show.

    Found it at a tag sale today, for nearly nothing, and decided I liked it and had to have it.

    Looking up K&E folding rules on google, I saw nothing just like it, and only one similar, which is a 1 foot rule. I did not see what scales it has on it, since the pictures were not good enough to show detail on the outside surfaces. Maybe there was nothing. The hinges on this one are different from the others, as well. Same idea, but many more "fingers" into the segments of the scale. I don;t know the material of the body segments, if old enough could be ivory, I suppose, otherwise some form of celluloid, perhaps.

    Anyone know more about it?










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    More. These also turned out dark, despite the actual item being a fairly good white.






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    I used to have an ivory and German silver 12" four-fold scale, but can't recall if it had a maker name. The scales did not have exotic divisions. Boxwood was the common (cheap) material for folding scales.

    I have seen modern English tools made by Rabone Chesterman. Records of Rabone Chesterman, John Rabone and Sons and James Chesterman and Co Ltd | The National Archives

    Wooden Folding Rulers and Steel Rules - Old Tools J. Rabone Architects Ivory Rule

    Note that ivory objects are tricky to sell these days.

    K&E is an old company and I expect there may be some of their old catalogs posted on the Internet.

    Larry

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    It is, as you see, very similar to, but not identical with, the second link, the J Rabone Architects Ivory Rule. That one appears to have a full hinge, without the protractor feature, and, may have both edges beveled, as stated in the text, although I can't be sure from the pictures.

    Ivory.... "some troubles" selling it? Yeah, like having it seized and destroyed, and being threatened with arrest and fines.... That qualifies as "some troubles". I have heard of people having expensive musical instruments seized and destroyed due to relatively miniscule amounts of ivory, and despite the fact that the instrument was obviously old enough to pre-date any possible ivory trafficking statute, AND having come from inside the US and being on tour.... Nasty business, zero tolerance is.....

    Is there a good way to determine if it is indeed ivory?

    Any idea on dates? I assume late 1800s, but have no idea. Could presumably be up to 1940s.

    I bought it straight up, for a buck. One dollar, out of the "rulers, $1 each" box at the tag sale.

    Here is a better colored pic, showing the actual color fairly well.



    Here is the scale down the unbeveled edge


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    That rule is worth at least four bills and they're not dollar bills..

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    Is there a good way to determine if it is indeed ivory?
    I would not do it to such a beautiful and well preserved instrument as you show, but the common test for piano keys is a hot needle. If it melts it's plastic, if it smells like burnt plastic, it is, if it burns with a more acrid but non-plastic smell, it's probably ivory. Maybe you can look under a microscope for the grain?

    smt

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    JST --

    Gotta agree with Larry Vanice, it's an architect's folding scale. Architect's scales are usually graduated in scaled feet and inches, typically in full-foot increments with either "cut" or "add" graduations to subdivide the feet.

    Your's has "add" graduations, which are before the main-scale zero. To use, the main-scale zero graduation is lined up with one end of the to-be-measured distance, and the other end's position on the scale noted as between-this-and-that. The scale is then slid along the to-be-measured distance until the lower of the between-this-and-that graduations is lined up with the second end of the to-be-measured distance. The total distance is then the sum of the whole-foot units and the inch-scale units.

    If "cut" graduated, the inch scale is between the main-scale zero and one, and once the between-this-and-that reading is made, the scale is slid along the to-be-measured distance until the higher main-scale graduation lines up with the second end, which puts the zero line outside of the distance-to-be-measured. The subscale value is then read, and subtracted from the value of the higher main-scale graduation.

    I think you've found a real jewel; congratulations!

    John

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    About 99.9% sure it is ivory, great score.

    I have some similar.

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    I have found no substantive date info so far, and not much on any of these folding rulers, let alone one like this.

    I did look through ebay, bu nothing at all there. I have no use for it, but I like it, so the "value" is not a big deal. I guess I'm just funny like that. Sometimes I get tired of an item, and I do sell it, but....

    Do you have any idea when it might have been made?

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    I have forwarded this to a friend in the UK who the expert in these matters. I post what comes back.

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    Thank you.

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    I can see no growth rings at all,and think it is celluloid.But,an EXTREME closeup is needed to see if there is any grain pattern. With the vagaries of color that a camera can make,it is really impossible to tell for sure what it is from the pictures shown.

    It could be: Ivory,celluloid,or bakelite. Those are the 3 choices. They all age and turn yellowish.

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    K&E were early adopters - even 'masters of' - the use of high-quality and uncommonly durable versions of 'nitrate' plastics.

    Ivory - and bone - have different characteristics on a simple non-destructive test.

    Dig around in yer Hell box for a UV light source.

    Woteveritis expected to be revealed can be found online amongst the real/fake Ivory/bone/synthetic regulated/UN regulated discussions.

    Bill

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    Looked at it more closely, and am undecided.

    It seems to have a "grain", and also has some internal variations in color.

    But it is too transparent to be ivory, and chips in it are more like plastic. The numbers seem to be heat-stamped into it, and not engraved, they have a raised area around them, like a cheap Japanese slide rule There are one or two places where the stamp appears to have been used twice, such as on the "Keuffel" in the brand name. Not EVERY marking shows that, but a number do.

    Looks like a cheap imitation, actually, whether it is or not.

    Probably worth the buck I spent, though, anyhow, as a cool item.

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    If it isn't ivory,and is very hard,it well may be bakelite. This early plastic came in many colors. Inventd by Henry Bakelyn(sp?) in the early 20th. C..

    Bakelite is a thermo setting plastic,meaning it won't melt if touched with a hot pin.

    I hate to see you damage the rule by testing it. If I had the rule,I could identify what it is made of just by looking at it.

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    Not testing it with any hot pins. Not THAT curious, and crazy I am not.

    I am going to try it with UV and see what color it shows up as.

    Bakelite? Maybe. Most Bakelite seems to have a reddish yellow color, if it is not "filled", and this is not quite like that. It also would not have responded to pressing the markings in.

    Looking closer at the thing, many of the original markings appear to be engraved, which likely simply means they were pressed in like the others, but subsequently polished down smooth. The last added ones, such as the K&E, DO seem to have a raised edge. Obviously they would not have been in a position to fix that, as the thing was already assembled when they got it, and they presumably put their mark on. If it had been done at J Rabone, it would be polished out.

    So far, my assessment is that it could be as late as 1960 or so, which seems to be about when J Rabone ceased doing business under that name. Probable value maybe $20 or so, per what I see on ebay, discounted for ebay pricing.

    Don't care, it's cool and I like it.

    My assessments are often faulty.... I'm no expert. Example: I assumed (from diligent research) that a watch was a fake Cartier "Tank" watch. Turns out there are as many varieties of genuine as here are fakes, almost, and it is genuine. Not so sure about this rule...

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    Bakelite can be in many colors. They made gaudy,large bracelets from it in many colors. Also small radio cabinets. All that stuff is collectible now. Why,I don't know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JST View Post
    I am going to try it with UV and see what color it shows up as.
    Not just colour, J. Also whether natural growth-layer or production-line build-up-layer striations appear.

    Don't care, it's cool and I like it.
    All that matters, really.



    Bill

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    JST..ever find out the material? Anymore info on this?

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    Oooh!

    Something OLD and/ or rare!

    A mystery....May be it is valuable....to someone

    Myself,? No use for such a scale. perhaps a "cool -ector" would highly value such an item.

    There does seem to be an abundance of money and a shortage of old measuring sticks.


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