This unique wood straight edge was crafted from a dense fine grain hardwood--likely Cuban Mahogany. It has a density greater than 1.0 (it sinks in cold water). The stick is 18 1 ¼ inches long, ¼ inch thick and 1 5/16 inches wide. The top edge is beveled and each end is indented with finger-fitting concavities that make it easy to lift straight up, off a surface. The first 12 inches from the left are crudely marked at about one inch intervals with small notches. I believe that making measurements was a secondary use for the tool, it being much more functional as a straight edge for drafting or for checking the flatness of a surface. On its top side are inscribed several characters including letters, symbols and numerals. These are deeply incised, having been carved with a sharp blade. Together they read (from left to right) A A + U + 1809 a, The letters and plus signs have serifs. The calligraphy has a Germanic or Dutch look to it. This suggests a toolmade by an early 19th century cabinet maker, perhaps in Philadelphia or the Hudson Valley of New York. The back side is unmarked. It is an outstanding candidate for a tool collection. It is a very early American rule. Fine.