Brass Chain Measure

Material: Brass
Dimensions: Length: 45cm / 18in
Place of Origin: England
Date: Probably first half of the 18th century
Maker or Retailer: Probable maker’s mark crowned GH (unidentified)
Present Location: Private collection


This curious brass chain measure is made up of 16 rectangular, cast links, alternately open and closed, each one inch in length. The chain terminates at one end in a closed heart-shaped link and at the other in a ring with a spur, each of them also one inch long, so the overall length is 18 inches.


Each closed link is cut and then closed around the adjacent open links. The closed links are engraved on one face with even numbers, from 2 to 18. On the reverse of links numbered 2, 4, 6 and 8 is engraved the inscription WILLIAM HODGSON LING FIELD and on the heart-shaped terminal link is a stamped mark consisting of a crown over the initials GH.


It seems likely that William Hodgson was the chain’s owner and GH its maker. There are two places called Lingfield, one in Surrey and the other near Darlington in County Durham.

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