Printers’ (Typographers’) Rulers

I am wanting to collect some examples of different printers’/typographers’ rulers. I am especially interested in those that use something other than Helvetica Regular for the sizing “E” in assorted point sizes.

If posting an image, please include the “E” and at least one set of nearby measurement lines (picas, points, inches, cm) along with some indication of what that measurement is, if it is not clear in the image.


  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 180
    I've still got a stainless steel ruler with picas and agate, but it doesn't have type size examples.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,635
    Do you know about this site?
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,641
    I did not! Thanks Mark!  🤩
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,635
    edited March 2022
    I used to have at least one ruler with E's like that. I clearly remember it being white plastic and I bought it in college. It also had some halftone shades of different percentages.

    The only one with type size letters that I still have is this: 

    It's actually a transparent photostat of a manufactured ruler, maybe a Haber, or possibly a combination of several. You can see where I put white tape on the back in a couple of places to make it easier to use. I think I used this in the '80s, pre-DTP. The Z's are Futura.

    I also have two different sets of Schaedler precision rules (polyester for stability), a transparent photostat of a Haberule type gauge (the real ones were yellow plastic with slits to make it four rulers in one), a Gaebel "pica pole" (one foot long, metal, with round ends), and a Gaebel 18" metal ruler with 16 different gauges on it (if you don't count the hole-punch guides). The last one is the one I still use regularly.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,102
    Would you like images or actual rules mailed to you?
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,641
    Images would do. When an image is of interest, I might ask for a scan—or an especially squared-up (and large enough) image—such that I can do some measurements.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,641
    @Mark Simonson
    That ruler is super interesting! I would love a higher-res version of it. Can you DM or email me?
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,635
    Hi-res copy emailed.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,957
    Here’s one I have in an old VIP book. Sorry about the poor quality, but my scanner died so I had to scan it with my phone. I’ll email the full size version.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,641
    Wow, that is some tightly kerned text. Gotta be the Phototype era!

  • Two of the competitors in our area -- you'ld get a taller letter from D&D at 72 pt.!

  • Oops, I was comparing the 74pt D&D H! The 72 pts are the same height.

  • this Zeilenmaß is from 1913:

    this Typomaß I own since 1981:

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