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Needle gauge - Bell gauge

Bell gauge

  • Object:

    Needle gauge

  • Place of origin:

    England (manufactured)

  • Date:

    1847-1899 (manufactured)

  • Artist/Maker:

    G. Chambers & Co. (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs J. Taylor

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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.

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.

Place of Origin

England (manufactured)


1847-1899 (manufactured)


G. Chambers & Co. (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

'G. CHAMBERS & CO / BELL GAUGE / [representation of the Royal Arms] / PATENTED / 17 SEPR 1847'
Inscribed on the front face


Length: 7 cm, Width: 6 cm maximum, Width: 2.125 in maximum, Length: 2.375 in

Object history note

This type of needle gauge is recommended in the series The Lady's Knitting Book published in 1875.

Descriptive line

Metal bell-shaped needle gauge 'Bell gauge', manufactured by G. Chambers & Co., England, 1847-1899

Labels and date

English: G. Chambers & Co, patented 1847

Given by Mrs J. Taylor
T.276-1979 [1985]




Tools & Equipment; Textiles; Needlework accessories; Metalwork


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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