Dip stick (2 of 2)

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probably made in London

Postcard of Dip stick (2 of 2).
© National Museums Scotland

Dip stick (2 of 2)

This excise officer's folding dip stick was made in the mid 18th century, and retailed by John Gilbert of London. It is four feet long and made of wood and brass. It folds to fit into a pocket.

This face is marked for scales for 'Madiera Pipe', 'Port Pipe', 'Mountain Butt' and 'Rum Puncheon'. Other scales on the inside limbs are for 'W[ine] Hogshead', 'Lisbon Pipe' and 'Sherry Butt'.

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.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-002-211-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1974.66
Date: Mid 18th century
What: Excise rod
Subject: 19. MATHEMATICS (Departmental Classification)
Who: John Gilbert, London (Maker)
Where: England, London
Description: Excise rod made of wood and brass, by John Gilbert of London, mid 18th century
  • Charles Leadbetter, The Royal Gauger, London, 1739.  
  • For the Gilbert family, see Gloria Clifton, Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851, London, 1995, pp 112-3 
  • Peter Delehar, 'Notes on Slide Rules', Bulletin of the Scientific Instrument Society, No. 3 (1984), pp 3-10 
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