Lists makers, markers, types and sizes of common rules, gauges, squares and tape measures. Various attributes of rulers and similar measuring devices are explored below.

Units of measure and systems.

List of Makers and Markers of rules and squares--

19th Century Two foot Two fold rules with Gunter Slides--

The above page is undergoing massive updates, parts are very rough and load slow.




Historical facts about measuring devices...

We know that for as long as history has been recorded there have been standards of length defined. Three different Greek standards are known. The Doric foot, the Attic foot and the Samian foot. An early Greek measuring table containing standards of length is known.

In the 11th, 12th and 13th century master builders carried their "foot" with them from job to job. Many medieval towns had the yard or ell defined and affixed to the town hall or gate for reference.

A chronological list of facts in measurement history is forming below.
400-600 BC The Doric foot, 325-328 mm used in Athens architecture. W. Dorpfeld
300 BC The Attic foot, 293-296 mm. The same length as the Roman foot. Also refered to as the Ionian or Cycladic foot.
The Samian foot, 348-350 mm. Used in east Ionia until the mid-5th century BC when replaced by the Attic foot.
14th c -19th c Ell -- 1. A measure of length varying in different countries. The English ell = 45 inches; the Scotch = 37.2 inches; the Flemish = 27 inches. Oxford English Dictionary
1487 ACT 3 Hen. VII, c. 7 All merchandises ... used to be measured with a Eln or Yard. Oxford English Dictionary
1502 ARNOLDE Chron (1811) 204 Item a Fll ell conteyneth iii q't's of an Eng. yarde, and v. q't's of ye Fll ell makith an Eng. ell. Oxford English Dictionary
1542 RECORDE Gr. Artes (1575) 207, 3 Foote and 9 Ynches make an Elle. Oxford English Dictionary
1609 SKENE Reg. Maj. 57 King Davids common elene conteins threttie seven measured inches. Oxford English Dictionary
1753 HANWAY Trav. (1762) I. VII. lxxxviii. 408, 102 Ells dantzig make 50 ells english. Oxford English Dictionary
1805 FORESYTH Beauties Scotl. II. 275 The ell by which their acres have been measured (called the barony ell) contains 42 inches, whereas the common ell made use of in the country is only 38 inches... Oxford English Dictionary
13th c King Edward I of England declared the "Iron Ulna" (the yard). The foot was one-third yard and the inch was one thirty-sixth. King Edward II, recognizing the Iron Ulna was not universially available, declared, "3 barleycorns, round and dry make an inch. Precision, A measure of Progress, 1952.
1638Astronomer William Gascoigne devised an indicator for a telescope to measure the size of objects using a precision screw mechanism preceeding the Frenchman Palmer who developed the initial micrometer. Precision, A measure of Progress, 1952.
1793Napoleon adopted the metric system for the French. Nineteen years later he withdrew the adoption because of public confusion. In 1837 it was permantly adopted by France Precision, A measure of Progress, 1952.
1824The English Parliament legalized a standard yard, the distance between two engraved gold buttons on a brass bar. Realizing the standard could be lost or destroyed; they specified that it could be reconstructed using the pendulum method defined by Galileo in 1624. Perhaps the first linking of standards and science. Precision, A measure of Progress, 1952.
mid 1800's The standard yard was first legalized in England in 1824; this standard was destroyed in 1834. The Standard Imperial Yard, "Bronze No. 1" was then prepared and legalized in 1855. Forty copies were made and one of these, "Bronze No. 11," was presented to the United States by the British Government in 1856. At the same time another copy, known as "Low Moor Iron No. 57" was sent. ... The use of the Metre as a standard in this country was legalized in 1866 and prototypes of the original Metre Bar were prepared in 1899, one of these, which was sent to Washington is now being used as the basis of "Metric Measurement" in this country."Standards of Length" p.74 Brown & Sharpe Small Tools Catalog No. 29. 1924.
1878A.E. Kennelly, pp 158, ...Norway... used in Norway until we got the metric system in 1878, were: For Linear Measure
1 Mil (Mile) is 3600 Fot (Feet) or 11,294.6 meters
1 Favn is 3 Alen or 6 Fot or 1.88245 meters
1 Fot is 12 Tommer (Inches) or 144 Linier or 139.0809 Pariske Linjer (Paris
Lines) or 0.31374 meter...
A.E. Kennelly, 1928, Vestiges Pre-Metric Weights And Measures Persisting in Metric-System Europe in 1926-1927
1907A.E. Kennelly, pp 153, ...Denmark... metric system was offically adopted by law about 1907...
Linear Measure:
1 Alen is 0.628 meter.
1 Fod is 0.314 meter or 12 Tommer (inches).
1 Tomme is 12 linier or 0.02615 meter.
1 Favn is 3 Alen or 1.884 meters.
1 Mil (Mile) is 12,000 Alen, or 7.532 kilometers
...Alen still much favored...with the building trade...
A.E. Kennelly, 1928, Vestiges Pre-Metric Weights And Measures Persisting in Metric-System Europe in 1926-1927

Selected by the SciLinks program, a service of National Science  Teachers Association. Copyright 1999-2002.

Selected by the SciLinks program, a service of National Science Teachers Association. Copyright 1999-2002.
© 1996-2015 Philip A. Cannon All Rights Reserved
Old_tool/measures updated September 5th, 2015