What does this measure?

This weekend, I have a mystery object for you …

Found lurking in an unsorted box of bits and pieces, probably from my late Mum’s, this is an Abel Morrall’s Metal Gauge. But what does it measure precisely?

I know it’s for knitting needles – and pre-metric (the 5 hole doesn’t correspond to 5mm for instance). I found some pre-metric needles and again there didn’t appear to be any correlation between old knitting needle sizes and the numbers on this gauge. Presumably there was another set of sizes…

I Googled it and found a whole booklet (click here) on the history of knitting needle gauges, but it doesn’t tell you what the numbers represent!

It would be nice to date it – I shall research further, meanwhile adding it to my knitting bag.

6 thoughts on “What does this measure?

  1. mintcustard says:

    Hi Annabel, before metrication knitting needles were simply sized in number order with the largest diameter having the lowest numbers and the thinnest gauge having the highest number. I suppose it is a little like our shoe sizings being different in UK, US and Europe. The idea of metrication was to standardise it. I still think of knitting with double knitting using 8s and 10s rather than the metric equivalent. Interestingly your guage has no 0, 00 or 000 sizes, perhaps it predates the fad for knitting with very chunky wool and that holey mohair phase we went through too!

  2. Erika W. says:

    i inherited one of these from a Scottish grandmother-in-law. Mine dates from thwe 1920s probably, made by Jaeger. For knitting needles and crochet hooks. As I am used to old British numbered sizes it has been useful sometimes.

    I love the bits and pieces associated with knitting and sewing.

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