What's Special About Schaedler Precision Rules?

The Whole Thing started about 30 years ago when a major design firm, Lippincott & Margulies, expressed concern about the size accuracy of the work being prepared for them by the John N. Schaedler studio (later to be known as Pinwheel). Schaedler's reputation had been built on a dedication to accuracy and sharpness, but yet a disparity existed between the rulers used by L&M and those used by Schaedler. Each thought that theirs was correct and it must be the other guy's that were wrong.

Intrigued by the absence of a graphic arts measuring standard, John Schaedler instigated a research project which centered around the Bureau of Standards (now known as NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology). The quest for exactness even included access to measuring equipment kept in an atmospherically controlled vault.

With the help of a major industrial plastics company, Schaedler found the strong, tear-proof, polyester base upon which the rules would be photographically printed. The substrate needed to be translucent but not transparent in order for calibrations to be read over light or dark subjects. It had to be dimensionally stable in order to resist the stretching and shrinking caused by changes of heat and humidity — and yet it still had to be supple enough for die cutting.

Taro Yamashita, a tireless staff lettering artist and photo technician at the Schaedler studio, helped design and develop the products now known as Schaedler Precision Rules. His original drawings were done by hand although computers and design software have subsequently been utilized to achieve greater accuracy and consistency.

Word of the rules spread quickly and art retailers had to search out the relatively unknown Schaedler Quinzel company to satisfy requests by their customers. With virtually no advertising or promotional effort, Schaedler Precision Rules were soon becoming the de facto measuring standard for art directors, designers, calligraphers, printers, meticulous craftsmen and others in the rapidly changing visual arts.

Affectionately known as "Schaedlers," the best-selling package contains two rules in a 12" twin-pack. There are inch, printers point/pica and metric calibrations on rule A; and decimal-inch, agate line and DTP point/pica calibrations on rule B. Recently reissued is rule C containing inches and printers picas with agate lines and sample rules & bullets down the center. And let's not forget the new 18" rule which goes to greater lengths on all of the above.

Schaedler Precision Rules are marked with thinner-than-hairline calibrations which represent divisions as fine as 64ths of an inch, half millimeters, and individual points. Whether read on a light table, against a computer monitor, or on a flat or irregular opaque surface, increments are legible and glare free. Schaedlers are extremely flexible and can be rolled up and stored in a napkin ring. Their thin base keeps parallax problems to a minimum and the satiny, matte surface is markable, washable (damp cloth only and immediately dry as liquids may damage the rule's emulsion) and remarkable.

And are they ever accurate! Schaedler Precision Rules are calibrated from grand master standards and are certified to have an accuracy tolerance of plus or minus 1/4,000ths of an inch. That's about as much as your fingernails grow in an hour!

By comparing printers picas to decimal inches on a Schaedler Rule, one can discover that 60 picas are equal to 9.9576 inches, not 10 inches as computer software companies have proclaimed. In reality, there is no relationship between a printers pica and a standard inch. The notion of picas equaling inches is so prevalent, however, that DTP picas, six picas that do equal exactly one inch, now appear on rule B.

Incidentally, a Schaedler Rule, whether new or old, is guaranteed against virtually any kind of damage. If it is accidentally cut, scratched, stained, burned, run over, or just plain worn out, return what's left directly to the Schaedler company and get a new replacement. Simply fold the injured rule in half, place it in an ordinary business envelope, and return it with a check for half of the current list price (which includes shipping and handling). Note: We also extend this guarantee to replace rulers made by our competitors, damaged or not.


Schaedler Quinzel Inc
1259 Route 46 E    #4J
Parsippany NJ  07054
Phone 973 263-4949
Fax 973 263-1188