Not currently on display at the V&A

Bell gauge

Needle Gauge
1847-1899 (manufactured)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This bell-shaped metal gauge enabled knitters to measure the diameter of knitting needles. Different types of yarn need different sizes of needle and this gadget allowed knitters to make sure the needles were suitable. Patented in 1847, the Chamber's Bell gauge was recommended in The Lady's Knitting Book published in 1875.

The steel knitting pins prevalent in the 19th century were made of wire. As a result, the standard sizes of British needles were the same as those used to measure the thickness of strands of wire. It was not until the 1970s that knitting needles were measured according to the metric system.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Metal
Brief Description
Metal bell-shaped needle gauge 'Bell gauge', manufactured by G. Chambers & Co., England, 1847-1899
Physical Description
Metal bell-shaped needle gauge with holes and side indentations. Designed for measuring the size of 19th century knitting needles. Inscribed with G Chambers & Co. Bell gauge, patented 17 September 1847 with a representation of the Royal Arms.



In the centre are the four largest holes, numbered 1 to 4; along the lower edge are holes numbered, in decreasing size, 5 to 12; numbers 13 to 18 are down the right-hand edge, and numbers 19 to 28 are down the left-hand edge.
Dimensions
  • Length: 7cm
  • Width: 6cm (maximum)
  • Width: 2.125in (maximum)
  • Length: 2.375in
Marks and Inscriptions
'G. CHAMBERS & CO / BELL GAUGE / [representation of the Royal Arms] / PATENTED / 17 SEPR 1847'
Gallery Label
9. NEEDLE GAUGE Metal English: G. Chambers & Co, patented 1847 Given by Mrs J. Taylor T.276-1979(1985)
Credit line
Given by Mrs J. Taylor
Object history
This type of needle gauge is recommended in the series The Lady's Knitting Book published in 1875.
Summary
This bell-shaped metal gauge enabled knitters to measure the diameter of knitting needles. Different types of yarn need different sizes of needle and this gadget allowed knitters to make sure the needles were suitable. Patented in 1847, the Chamber's Bell gauge was recommended in The Lady's Knitting Book published in 1875.



The steel knitting pins prevalent in the 19th century were made of wire. As a result, the standard sizes of British needles were the same as those used to measure the thickness of strands of wire. It was not until the 1970s that knitting needles were measured according to the metric system.
Collection
Accession Number
T.276-1979

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record createdJanuary 6, 2005
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