It may sound like a crazy device, but this ruler that doubles as a fountain pen is one clever piece of industrial design. Its name is Escala, and it may be architects’ newest best friend.
Escala was designed by Ēnsso, an L.A.-based brand established in 2014 by designer Carlo Aiello. Its body is machined out of a single solid block of aerospace-grade aluminum, anodized in matte black, and it’s just over 5 inches long, about as long as an iPhone.
When you first hold it in your hands, it looks like a tiny triangular ruler with two different scales on each of its three surfaces. The scales are laser-engraved, a process that reveals the pure aluminum under the black anodization process. This makes the lines and numbers look white–a beautiful contrast.
You can use it to draw in 1:20, 1:50, 1:100, 1:200, 1:400, and 1:500 in the metric system or, alternatively, as 1/32, 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 in the imperial system. The 1:100 scale works as a centimeters ruler while the 1-inch scale can be your regular inches ruler.
But that’s not all. That small cylinder protruding from one of its sides is the back end of an elegant fountain pen. Ensso claims that the nib is made by the famous nib manufacturer Peter Bock AG, a family company founded in 1939 in Heidelberg, Germany. The nib comes in three different thicknesses: fine, medium, and broad. You can load it with ink manually, using a Schmidt K5 ink converter, but also use standard short and long pre-bottle ink cartridges.
Escala is available to order on Kickstarter, with a $50 pledge giving you a 50% discount over the still-unannounced final retail price. Ēnsso claims that this is its eighth Kickstarter (!) and they are very aware of manufacturing difficulties, but still promise delivery in June 2019.