Material Culture Monday

Antiquing is a wonderful way for me to spend a few hours. I can usually find a good buy at any store, and give me a fantastic store and I’ll face multiple dilemmas on what I am actually going to buy.  Being only four months removed from being an active AmeriCorps member, who joined right out of grad school (and on top of that being currently unemployed), I don’t go antiquing nearly as often as I’d like.  I simply can’t afford it.  That, however did not stop me from giving myself a $20 limit when I went to Old Gristmill Antiques on my recent trip to Cooperstown, New York.

In this premier edition of my new Material Culture Monday feature, I will share with you one of my finds from Old Gristmill Antiques.

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This is The Eyesaver Ruler by Seneca Rulers, which was located in Seneca Falls, NY.  This is the 12″ version; there was also a 6″ model called The Eyesaver Midget.  The patent, US 1776245 was filed on January 16, 1928 and issued on September 23, 1930.  Florine Barrett of Flint, Michigan invented the ruler “for use in schools facilitating the teaching of fractions and fractional measurements.”


I was immediately drawn to this ruler out of the assortment that was there for its color (love the bit of red!) and that it boldly divided the inches out by the quarter.  It reminded me of my scale ruler that I use for measured drawings.  I fell in love when I flipped it over and saw the angles.  A straight edge protractor! The inch broken into 4ths, 8ths, 10ths, and 12ths!

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Despite it missing the brass straight-edge insert, I couldn’t pass this up at only $4.  I have not seen any listings for a similar ruler off of ebay in the month I’ve had it, and the 6″ rulers have all gone for over $5 plus a few more in shipping.  A similar 12″ ruler, by Westcott Rulers (also from Seneca Falls so there is a connection there somewhere), went for $6.99 plus shipping back in February.  As I did not have to pay shipping, and taxes don’t come close to shipping prices, I am quite pleased with my purchase, and very happy with the ruler overall.


Look for more Material Culture Mondays on the occasional Monday after I find myself fortunate enough to go antiquing again.

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4 Responses to Material Culture Monday

  1. I love antiquing too! I’ve not been able to go much lately (trying to save money), but your post makes me want to go!

  2. Gerat find — could be works of art. I’d probably display them. Love the angles on the protractor.

  3. Ross Lawton says:

    I got your 12″ EyeSaver and a 16″ Westcott ruler for $.25 each at an estate sale. As a mechanical engineer from Western New York, I appreciate old drafting tools, especially the EyeSaver from Seneca Falls. If you want to save money, go to estate sales and get the stuff before the pickers buy it and mark up the price.

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