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Dip stick

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probably made in London

Dip stick
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This excise officer's dip stick was made around 1880, probably in London. It is unsigned. It is four feet long and made of wood, with protective brass ends.

This gauging diagonal or 'bung rod' is squared-off at the top end, and cut on the diagonal on one side of the bottom end to allow the stick to touch the end of the cask being measured. It is stamped on two faces with an inch scale, divided into tenth; a third face is marked 'IMPL. GALLS.', and the fourth 'IMPL. AREA'.

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.

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