Wantage Rule fitted into a box, 1720

Contributed by Davistown Museum


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.

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About This Item

  • Title: Wantage Rule fitted into a box, 1720
  • Creator: Merchant, Robert
  • Creation Date: 1720
  • Subject Date: 1720
  • Town: Berwick
  • County: York
  • State: ME
  • Media: Boxwood, brass, ribbon
  • Local Code: TBW1006
  • Collection: Historic Maritime II (1720-1800): The Second Colonial Dominion & the Early Republic
  • Object Type: Physical Object

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For more information about this item, contact:

Davistown Museum
PO Box 346, 58 Main Street #4, Liberty, ME 04949
(207) 288-5126

Use of this Item is not restricted by copyright and/or related rights, but the holding organization is contractually obligated to limit use. For more information, please contact the contributing organization. However, watermarked Maine Memory Network images may be used for educational purposes.

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