Stephens wooden ruler 12″ / 30cm

I bought this inexpensive wooden ruler from Ashton Print in Preston, Lancashire for 69p (1.08 US$, € 0.79). Since then I found that some online-shops sell it even cheaper. The ruler itself is 12″ / 30cm long and made in Australia by Stephens [1]The shop had a few Stephens rulers for sale. They were in a cardboard stand marked “Made in Australia. Carded in England.. This would be the perfect spot in this post to tell you a bit more about Stephens, but unfortunately I was not able to find any useful information about who they are or what products they offer, so let’s skip this part and go straight to the ruler.

The weight is about 12 grams

With about 12g the wood is quite light. So light in fact, that it feels fragile. It has less than half the weight of the wooden rulers I have used previously. Looking at the wood grain and taking the mass into account (12g for about 25 cm3 = 480 kg / m3) I would say the ruler is made from Aspen wood, but this is only a guess.

Eighths and Twelfths

The ruler has centimetres and millimetres printed on one side and inches printed on the other side. The four corners of the inch side are further divided into eighths and sixteenths on the right and tenths and twelfths on the left. Additonally the middle of the inch side has 30°, 45°, 60°, 72° and 90° angles printed on them. This is obviously not a replacement for a set square, but a nice addition that could be of use. The printing on the ruler must have been created using some kind of stamping mechanism and is a bit irregular, which gives this ruler an “old-fashioned” touch.


The wood is untreated, which means that nearly all pens or pencils you will use with this ruler could leave a mark on the side. Using such a soft wood has also another potential for problems. If there is a dent you will not be able any more to draw a perfectly straight line. Some wooden rulers have a metal bar on the side to guarantee a straight line, but the Stephens does not and I would not have expected this from a fairly inexpensive ruler either. There is not really much more to say about this ruler, but I am sure I will enjoy using my Australian ruler.


  • Good value for money
  • Has centimetres, inches and angles


  • Fairly soft wood, easy to dent


Tenths and Sixteenths

PS: If like rulers have a look at SUCK UK’s musical ruler.

Price and exchange rates: February 2010


1 The shop had a few Stephens rulers for sale. They were in a cardboard stand marked “Made in Australia. Carded in England.

5 thoughts on “Stephens wooden ruler 12″ / 30cm”

  1. Forty odd years ago we lots of uses for these.
    Sword fights of course – that dented the edges 🙂
    Drill a small hole with a compass point near each end – join them with a length of strong twine and there was just enough spring in the ruler to make a sort of bow
    Notched at the end they made good rubber band launchers.
    The spring in the wood made them good catapults for all manner of missiles from spit balls to chunks of chalk
    Some people drew lines with them but they were the minority 🙂
    Ink stains were just part of the patina

  2. Thank you for your comment. This seems to be a particularly versatile ruler 😉 I like your sentence near the end: “Some people drew lines with them but they were the minority” 🙂 Was it the Stephens ruler you used? Did it change at all since then, or is the ruler sold today more or less the same as it was forty years ago?

  3. David from sent me this link about the history of Croxley stationery. He also found out that Stephens is a trademark name of BIC in New Zealand. The situation regarding the rights to the Stephens trademark in Australia remain a mystery. Felt markers from Stephens (with a different but similar logo) seem to be a sight not uncommon in New Zealand. There is also some confusion about Stephens’ past, their trademark in different countries, and the different product line in different countries (rulers, chalk, key rings and other office supplies in the UK – felt markers, stationery in New Zealand).

  4. Hi memm,

    Mine was indeed a Stephens ruler. The one in the post is exactly the same as the old ones.
    This was the pre decimal era so three edges were marked in inches with divisions including eighths, twelfths, tenths and sixteenths but only one edge in centimetres – notice there are no millimetres only half centimetres.
    Schools used to buy Stephens ink in large bottles.

  5. Whoops – I should have said it was the same apart from the millimetre edge – that one was in inches.

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