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The Friday "What is it?" Quiz

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cambournepete

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Anyone any idea what these are or what they are for?
rods.jpg

They seem to be stained black, but still fairly heavy for their size. The larger one is 1" diameter and just over 18" long, the smaller 3/4" diameter and about 12" long.
One end has rings stamped/cut into it, the other a crown with S.O. underneath.
end1.jpg
end2.jpg

I guess the "S.O." stands for "Stationary Office" and my mother (and her father) lived and worked in a post office and my dad for the ministry of labour/department of employment so could they be something to do with them?
 

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bugbear

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It's the simplest kind of parallel ruler. The more modern kind separate the "roller" aspect from the straight edge aspect like this:

http://www.gilai.com/product_502/Brass- ... ing-London.

There's also a non-roller kind (seen here)

http://www.uspowerboating.com/Home/Educ ... titude.htm

But yours is the simplest form. They're quite common at antique outlets, car boots, flea markets, etc, and often mis-labelled as officers' swagger sticks (in an attempt to make it "militaria" instead of office equipment...)

BugBear
 

cambournepete

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bugbear":3suqlcp1 said:
It's the simplest kind of parallel ruler. ...the simplest form. They're quite common at antique outlets, car boots, flea markets, etc, and often mis-labelled as officers' swagger sticks (in an attempt to make it "militaria" instead of office equipment...)
Thanks BB.
I had wondered about the swagger stick myself.

Sounds like they're not worth much then.
 

AndyT

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I've seen these on eBay and don't doubt the identification, but what I don't get is this - if you are using the round rod as a ruler, to draw a straight line, there would be scope for a huge error if you varied the angle of the pen by even the slightest amount. Ordinary rulers have bevelled edges to make them extra slim and avoid this problem. So how were they really used? Some special straight line application where you don't need to run a pen along the ruler?
 

richarnold

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Its a rolling rule. years ago if you used an old fashioned ink pen against a straight edge, as soon as you move the rule it would smudge. with a rolling rule you role it away, and hey presto no smudge.
 

adidat

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i came across one of these in ebony :duno: and i thought i had struck gold then i found them on ebay pretty cheap :(

adidat
 

Richard T

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The pen and ink version of the oil painters' maul stick. I have one in rosewood but got me an aluminium rule with cut away curves on the underside - works much more accurately but does get a build up of ink along the side being that much lower.
 
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