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The Upson Nut Company was founded in New York in 1854. As its name suggests, it manufactured nuts and bolts, handtool a and rules – but in 1872 Andrew Upson founded the Standard Rule company in Unionville, CT to focus on wooden rules. The company was very successful, and by 1875 it was the fourth largest rule company in the United States. Upson also sold rules under their own brand, but these may have been manufactured by Standard as they are fully identical to the Standard product except for the brand. Unlike some of the other leading makers, Standard/Upson always used the same naming conventions as Stanley, which makes their rules easy to identify and collect. Standard Rule was absorbed into the parent company in 1889 and thenceforth all rules produced were branded Upson. Upson sold its hand tool business to Stanley in 1893, and ultimately sold its Rule business to Stanley in 1922.
This is an Upson Nut Co. No. 36 1/2 two-fold one foot rule with square hinge and brass outside caliper insert. The rule is in overall very good original condition, and on first glance it looks very pretty, but…
A closer inspection reveals some uneven markings, and the twelfths marked on the inner scale include some ‘fat’ divisions, which I find intriguing. A couple of potential explanations occur to me… It could be that this was made by a ‘newbie’ whose work was not yet consistently up to snuff; or, it could have been a ‘Friday special’ – a product made at the end of the last shift of the week, when everyone’s focus was more on the final whistle than on the finished product.
Either way, this rule should not have made it through final quality inspection – convention would have had it be either destroyed or marked as defective and sold as a factory reject – but, I’m very pleased that it escaped that fate and found its way into my hands.