OLD Antique Surveyors Gunter chain measure signed 33'

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  • Item Category: Tools
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Apr 22,2007
  • Channel: Online Auction
OLD Antique Surveyor's Gunter chain measure signed
The tag says "J C CHESTERMAN SHEFFIELD".
The measure has 48 links that are 7" long. One link is 4 1/2". ONE LINK SET WITH 2 RINGS IS 8" so 48 links total 32.33'.
This seems to be a half chain. See attached description of the gunters chain.
I clean the brass handles and the tag with a polish to see the details and be sure they were brass. The links are slightly bent but not badly.
You won't be disappointed in the old world craftsmanship.

"A Gunter's chain

The term chain derives from the device commonly used for measurement of land in the past -- a chain of 100 links, the Gunter's chain (named in honour of Edmund Gunter )being the most common. The links were about eight inches long, made of heavy gauge wire, with a loop at each end. The links were joined end to end to create the chain by three rings between the links. This enabled the chain to be folded up, link by link, until all 100 were in a bundle which could be held in the hand. At each end were brass handles and the full chain measurement was between the outside extremities of the brass handles with the chain at full stretch on flat ground. If the chain had been folded correctly, an experienced chainman (surveyor's assistant) could fling the bundle out and it would unfold neatly with no snags. Another chainman would grab the handle, flick the chain to get it straight and then be ready to take the measurement. Long distances would be measured in bays of one chain, the actual chain being dragged forward for each bay.

The use of the chain was once very common in laying out townships and mapping the U.S. along the train routes in the 19th century. In the U.S. a federal law was passed in 1785 (the Public Land Survey Ordinance ) that all official government surveys must be done with a Gunter's chain (also referred to as the "surveyor's chain"). "
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