Companies used these yardsticks as promotional items with their logos and catchy slogans printed on them. I still see stores like Lowe's, Home Depot, and Ace Hardware selling these today. Their accuracy is somewhat debatable and I would only use them for rough measurements, but I like having these older ones on display. There are even some yardstick collectors out there!
The smaller yardstick that is actually 36" long is from McCrory's, McLellan, Green and Save. A quick google search reveals that this was a chain of five and dime stores based in York, Pennsylvania. You can read more about that here, Again, I have no idea how this yardstick ended up in my father's shop in Georgia.
Do you have any antique wooden yardsticks laying around your shop? If so, I would love to see them. Send me a picture on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. Also, look up the company to see if they are still in business, because I bet they would love to see a piece of their history.
Don't be surprised if you find yourself scratching your head and wondering how these wooden yardsticks ended up in your shop too!