The red ends, the blond downy birch and the characteristic smoothness of the joints. Created in 1883, the folding rule from Hultafors is a classic, almost an icon, both as a tool and as a design.
Through the inventiveness of Karl-Hilmer Johansson Kollén, the measurement device was developed into what would be the folding rule – an innovation that has become the backbone of Hultafors tools ever since.
At 8.5 cm from the start of the rule is a triangular red symbol comprising the letters KHJK. This is not mumbo-jumbo, but simply Hultafors' own corporate symbol and is short for Karl-Hilmer Johansson Kollén.
The folding rules come in different materials – aluminium, fibreglass or standard wood – depending on the environment they are to be used in. Until the 1960s the rules were made of Swedish whitebeam (similar to rowan), but since then downy birch has become the new original.
The triangular red symbol
There is a saying about the triangular symbol that reads “Just as the equilateral triangle that we use as a trademark is the strongest geometrical construction, we should strive to make our folding rule the strongest folding rule possible.”
Surprisingly, the joints of the Hultafors folding rule are the largest reason for its success. The joints made of Swedish steel are the same as when the folding rule began production in 1883 while the wooden sticks and the grading have been adapted throughout the years.