In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Davistown Museum

Wantage Rule fitted into a box

Contributed by Davistown Museum
MMN Item 9901 Item Details
Wantage Rule fitted into a box
MMN Item 9901 Zoom


This tool, among the most historically significant pieces of measuring Americana in any Maine or New England museum, is the earliest known signed and dated tool known to have been made in the United States. It is a six fold wantage rule used for measuring quantities of wine, beer, and ale. The strong alcohol and tannin component of the liquids it measured has given the wood a mellow hue. It's gorgeous box is fitted so exactly to the folded rule that a ribbon is needed to remove it.

Both the rule and box are made of boxwood and the rule has brass fittings. It is an 11 1/8" long box; the rule is 10 1/4" long when folded and signed "Made by Robert Merchant for Noah Emery, Berwick, 1720" in script.

This rule illustrates the ability of colonial era craftsmen to make tools equal in quality to those made by the finest English and European toolmakers of the time.

View additional information about this item on the Maine Memory Network.