This engineering tool has been a bit of mystery. It was sold back in December of 2001 as part of “Profiles in History Auction 10.” Many of the items in this auction came from the personal collection of Star Trek’s late Art Director Mr. Matt Jefferies. The auction catalog had a short blurb about the item on page 42:
218. PROP “RULER” USED BY “SCOTTY” ON “STAR TREK”.
(NBC-TV, 1966-69 ) 16 in. x 2 in. clear Lexan “ruler” with green
portion at one end, and four yellow squares at the other. Comes
with a letter of provenance from set decorator John Dwyer.
A few extra higher quality pictures were also provided:
Despite being in the possession of the late Matt Jefferies, and despite a letter of provenance from John Dwyer, I was hard-pressed to find any instance of this prop actually being used in Star Trek.
However, my perseverance paid off, and I was finally able to locate a single scene where “Scotty’s Lexan Ruler” make’s an appearance. It can be seen way over at screen right, lying on the workbench/tabletop as Sargon and Thalassa (in the bodies of Captain Kirk and Dr. Anne Mulhall) work to construct android bodies for themselves:
(You can see only about half of the prop, but the four little yellow cubes on the clear handle are unmistakable.)
And here is the Star Trek Phase II reproduction. It’s a clear Lexan “ruler,” with clear yellow cube greeblies at one end, and a translucent rectangular turquoise thing with four black diamond-shaped buttons arranged in their own larger diamond-shaped pattern at the opposite end.
And here’s a bit of an edge-on view like in “Return to Tomorrow:”
As with many props on Star Trek, this futuristic prop is an exercise in minimalist design. Just some colored buttons, and clean, simple lines. As with so many of our props, I don’t know when we’ll see it in one of our productions. But keep your eyes open.
Credit for the fabrication of this prop goes to prop maker Mr. Gaston Huckabay.
As always, questions, comments, feedback, and, of course, “shares,” “likes,” or “+1s” are always appreciated.
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