Personal height measurer

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probably made in Edinburgh

Postcard of Personal height measurer.
© National Museums Scotland

Personal height measurer

This personal height measurer for measuring people was made around 1850, probably by Alexander Adie & Son, scientific instrument makers based in Edinburgh. The device appears to have been produced by the Adie workshop as a specially ordered piece. No description of it has been found. It came from a noble household in the Borders, where it had survived, presumably since first purchased.

This device measure up from the ground on the outside of the square-sectioned wooden pole to four feet, marked in Roman numerals; an extension piece allows the top six inches to be extended further. A sliding brass sleeve allows the head to be measured from the ground to one-tenths of an inch.

This would appear to be a more formal method than the one where growing children are marked against each other, inside a cupboard door or on the kitchen wall, over time.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-104-719-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1995.119
Date: Around 1850
c. 1850
Material: Satin wood veneer
What: Height measuring device
Who: Adie & Son, Edinburgh (Maker)
Earls of Home (Possible owners)
Where: Scotland, Berwickshire, Coldstream, The Hirstel
Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh
Description: Telescopic personal height measuring stick in satin wood veneer, reputedly from The Hirstel, Coldstream, home of the Earls of Home, by Adie & Son, Edinburgh, c. 1850
  • For the firm of Adie & Son, see Clarke, T.N., Morrison-Low, A.D. & Simpson, A.D.C. Brass & glass scientific instrument making workshops in Scotland as illustrated by instruments from the Arthur Frank Collection at the Royal Museum of Scotland. Edinburgh: 
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