Dip stick

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probably made in London

Postcard of Dip stick.
© National Museums Scotland

Dip stick

This excise officer's dip stick was made in the second half of the 19th century, probably by Buck & Hickman of London. It is four feet long and made of wood, with protective brass ends.

This wine-gauging diagonal is squared-off at the top end, and cut on the diagonal on both sides of the bottom end to allow the stick to touch the end of the cask being measured. It is stamped towards the bottom of one face with the retailers' names: 'BUCK & HICKMAN 281 WHITECHAPEL ROAD LONDON', 'IMPL GALLON', 'IMPL HOGSHD'; on a second, 'WINE Hf HOGSHD' 'IMP Hf HOGSHD'; on a third, 'WINE GALLONS' 'WINE HOGSHD LV' ; on a fourth, 'IMPL HOGSHD ST'.

In brewing and distilling, it was necessary for excise officers to work out the tax due from the volume of barley malted and from amounts of liquor held in casks. Calculation of the total and partial content (or ullage) of casks was aided by specially designed slide rules. Dip sticks such as this one took the diagonal depth when a cask was standing on its end or lying on its side, speeding measurement. Buck & Hickman were noted at this address in a 1861 wholesale directory.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-104-293-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1985.64
Date: 1850 - 1900
Second half of the 19th century
What: Wine gauging diagonal
Who: Buck and Hickman, London (Maker)
Where: England, London
Description: Four-foot wine gauging diagonal signed by Buck and Hickman of London, 1850 - 1900
  • Charles Leadbetter, The Royal Gauger, London, 1739.  
  • Peter Delehar, 'Notes on Slide Rules', Bulletin of the Scientific Instrument Society, No. 3 (1984), pp 3-10 
  • The London Wholesale, Manufacturing, and Retail ... Opticians, and Cutlers' Directory ... 1861. 
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