Thursday, December 28, 2023

For Northsider and Steve

The first picture is for Northsider Dave. This is a picture of the brass and copper gas light that bought in a box of stuff at auction. It has been wired to work as an electric light. Auction price of $5.00. We bought polish and dremel pads and sealer. It was a cool find and Tim is pleased with it. 




The next pictures are for Steve. He wanted a picture of the ruler. It is a yard stick actually, that is divided into four sections. Folded completely it is 9 inches long. 


It is marked. Michael Rabone and his wife started this company in 1784. The factory was located in Birmingham. (8 Snow Hill, to be exact).When he died in 1803. his wife took over the day to day operations. His son John, took over in the 1820s. 

At that point, England was beginning to mechanize, and (this is pure conjecture on my part since I cannot find a lot of information to fill in the blanks) I'm guessing this is when the rulers began to be made with callipers and protractors and the like to meet the needs of draftsmen and machinists I am guessing also that this is when the rulers began to be stamped with a number. Ours does not have a number at all and I am (again speculation!) wondering if this is perhaps due to the fact that before the industrialization of England, Michael and Elizabeth Rabone's small company had a very limited inventory and had no need to number the products. 

So, at some point in John's 'reign' these different rulers began to carry product numbers. He moved the company to Hockney Abbey to accomodate the bigger business as well as his modernization. There is a story about a disgruntled employee stabbing John Rabone in a rage because he felt that mechanization was going to deprive him of employment. 

But...back to the time line. In 1845, John's son, John Jr. joined him in the business and it became John Rabone and Son. In 1877, John Jr.'s sons joined the party and the business name was changed to John Rabone and Sons. 


No model number.


It has a 'swing hinge' in the middle. On some of the later models, this was a protractor for measuring angles. The models during John's time began to be made with a half circle cutout instead of the flat ends on the swing hinge. 


Each 'leg' coming off of the swing hinge has an additional hinge to unfold the four sections into a 36 inch yard stick. each inch is marked off to 1/8 inch intervals. 

It's a fascinating thing, so perfectly designed and made. We can know for a fact that the yard stick we have was made before 1845 when John Jr. joined his father in the business. Again, it is pure conjecture, but I believe when John took over from his mother in 1820, he began to make changes, add to the product line, label his products with product numbers as he kept pace with England's industrial boom. It is my guess that the ruler Cara and Colin sent Tim is something from early on in John's control, and it may well date back to Elizabeth and Michael's time. It was a fascinating rabbit hole to fall into. If anyone has any information to add, please feel free to do so. We'd love to hear it. 

In other news today, Houdi went back to see the vet again for a recheck. He was not happy about finding himself once again in a cat carrier, but interestingly enough, he did not yowl all the way to the vet. He rode quietly, and he behaved like a perfect gentleman cat. Better yet, when I brought him back home and unzipped the carrier, he jumped out and bolted for the basement as he usually does when he's spooked but this time, he did not stay down there for a couple days. He returned in minutes. I rewarded him with one of those lickable treats, picked up specially for this day. He loved that little treat. We played with the laser light for a while. and he is now yowling at me. He is used to spending the evening on my lap, and he can't do that if I'm on the computer. 

We will have all the interior walls up in our new house before we ring in 2024. Then Tim will wire the house. Plumb the house. Figure out where we are going to put the other two windows.  Then we will begin the drywalling.

31 comments:

  1. My Dad had a folding ruler like that, probably ivory, but I can't remember where it was from. I gave it to my son along with my grandfather's wheelbarrow. Glad Houdini is doing better. Be careful with your housework! Linda in Kansas

    ReplyDelete
  2. Law for "made in" was enacted in 1887..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting. Evidently there were companies doing this before such a law went in the books. If you study the stamps of this particular company you will see it incorporated into the stamp when 'and son' was added in 1845, and when the 'and sons' was added in 1877, they took it even further, adding the city. hallmarks on silver identify where the piece was made and several potteries labeled the origin of their pieces well before the law was enacted, so relying on that alone to prove age does not work.

      Delete
  3. Fascinating research!
    Well done Houdi...and well done youse on the house!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are moving back into steadily working on it again after taking a couple months off. It is fascinating to wander off into google rabbit holes. I can quite lose track of time.

      Delete
  4. The light is very handsome. The history of the yard stick is fascinating. It's so easy to take something for granted and not realise how much design work went into it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is such a clever little thing. Tim is so pleased with it, and we enjoy looking up the history of things.

      Delete
  5. I would dearly love that lamp. It is gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tim's quite pleased with it. We have a couple other gaslights for outside. He would like to install them at the new house at some point. We have a producing gas well on the property and will have free natural gas.

      Delete
    2. Wow. How fortunate you are! please post photos when it is all set up.

      Delete
    3. Oh that will be part of the finishing touches, so to speak.

      Delete
  6. I enjoyed your reflections upon that ruler. How practically skilled your Tim is - to take on so many different jobs! All I can do is take photos, draw cartoons and write poems.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tend to believe that he can accomplish so much because he has such a skilled 'stand here and hold this like that' person. *smiles modestly*

      Delete
  7. Oh gosh! We had a ruler like that. At least my father or grandfather had.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read that as the plant became more and more modernized, they were producing 27,000 rulers a week, so I don't imagine that they were uncommon, really. I just never saw one like it, and the more that I read about it, the more interested I became.

      Delete
  8. You made a fine job of that lantern Debby. If you ever want a holiday polishing our copper and brass you would be most welcome. What do use to polish them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We used that old standby Brasso, which I used to keep my military insignia shiny in the military. Once we got the most of the tarnish off, we gave it another polish with something called Barkeeper's friend and a dremel tool. Then we sealed it with something called Protecta-Clear which you paint on to the metal and it protects it from tarnishing.

      Delete
  9. My grandfather, who was a fine carpenter and cabinet maker, had a yardstick like that. I wonder what the history of his was. So fascinating!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tim has a box of his grandfather's tools. He bought old farms and restored them and resold them back in the day. Tim was delighted to find that out, and then later, to get the tools. He used the saw on the house just because he wanted to add that history to the tools.

      Delete
  10. Thanks so much for all the information and the photos! It's interesting to hear the story of the Rabone firm and even the "Luddite" attack against John. Fascinating!

    I was curious partly because my mother's maiden name, Gager, is an old English name that means "the King's measurers." I don't know whether my people were actually measuring anything, but if they were, maybe they were using Rabone rulers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is pretty cool. I am related to Geigers.

      Delete
  11. The lantern is beautiful, you did quite the job of restoration! My Dad, who was a Civil Engineer, had a folding ruler like that one along with an Ivory slide rule. (in a leather case, no less) Unfortunately we have no idea what happened to them. I wish I knew.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Tim treasures his grandfather's tools. He never knew him and it tickled him to find out that he restored houses just as Tim does a hundred years later.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've never had a cat, but currently have four grandcats and was thrilled to get to give one of them a tube of that lickable stuff last summer. Funny the small things that can bring you joy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure brings Houdi joy! I like that he suddenly seems to be getting past the hiding stuff.

      Delete
  14. So much history to be found just because of that cool little ruler! Such an amazing gift.
    Don't work too hard tomorrow, Debby. Start the New Year at least a little rest!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We really have rested since the end of October. Time once again to get cracking. Tim has the all clear. We are doing interior stuff which is not physically demanding.

      Delete
  15. House renovation clearly runs in Tim’s family! Though obviously he wouldn’t be nearly as successful without his able helperšŸ˜„Fascinating to read about that ruler - Cara knows her dad well! Btw, I’ve just responded to your comment on my comment yesterday- just in case you missed it.. I don’t know if you go back to your past posts, but I don’t want you to think I ignored your questions! - Rigmor

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would have forgotten to go back and look. Thanks for the information. Henceforth, you will be Rigmor!

      Delete
  16. Gosh! It's been a long time since I've seen a folding measuring tool like that. I'm so amazed at all the work you're accomplishing on your little house. You guys are amazing!

    ReplyDelete

I'm glad you're here!

Laughs

 It was a day of getting ready to go, getting everything packed up. We are headed east to see Iris' ballet recital.  I picked up some la...