This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
A chain is a unit of length; it measures 66 feet or 22 yards or 100 links (20.1168m). There are 10 chains in a furlong, and 80 chains in one statute mile. An acre is the area of 10 square chains (that is, an area of one chain by one furlong). The chain has been used for several centuries in Britain and in some other countries influenced by British practice. Origin
A map of Aurora, Ontario, Canada from 1878, indicating a scale of 10 chains to one inch. The chain was commonly used with the mile to indicate land distances and in particular in surveying land for legal and commercial purposes. In medieval times, local measures were commonly used, and many units were adopted that gave manageable units; for example the distance from London to York could be quoted in inches, but the resulting huge number would be unmemorable. The locally used units were often inconsistent from place to place. In 1620, the clergyman Edmund Gunter developed a method of surveying land accurately with low technology equipment, using what became known as Gunter's chain; this was 66 feet long and from the practice of using his chain, the word transferred to the actual
51 km) from the origin. and it would in any case have predated Gunter's work. However it survives on the railways of the United Kingdom as a location identifier. land plans prepared before about 1960 associated with the sale of land usually have lengths marked in chains and links. meaning that it is at the location 112 miles and 63 chains (181.measured unit. When railways were designed the location of features such as bridges and stations was indicated by a cumulative longitudinal "mileage". and the areas of land parcels are indicated in acres. Contemporary use Location designator painted on a British railway bridge. and the link is used as a subdivision of the chain as a unit of length. or the originating junction of a new branch line. In countries influenced by English practice. using miles and chains. the chain is no longer used for practical survey work. A rectangle of land one furlong in length and one chain in width has an area of one acre. His chain had 100 links. It is sometimes suggested that this was a medieval parcel of land capable of being worked by one man and supporting one family. the "mileage" is sufficient to identify a place uniquely on any given route. Thus a certain bridge may be said to be "at" 112m 63ch. but there is no documentary support for this assertion. from a zero point at the origin or headquarters of the railway. Since railways are entirely linear in topography. showing miles and chains. photograph taken August 2007 In Britain. .
The city of Melbourne is a classic example: surveyor Robert Hoddle divided the city into 24 ten-chain blocks. for the time being. and other lots would be multiples or fractions of a chain. Chains and links are in many survey and real estate records. as there may be bridges at 112m 63ch on other routes. values familiar to many people. being the distance between the wickets.93 m. Australian and New Zealand use In Australia and New Zealand. The chain is not taught in British schools. most building lots in the past were a quarter of an acre. but it has survived for these reasons: y y y Railways need to keep permanent records of as-built drawings of structures. The street frontages of many houses in these countries are one . The indication "MLN" after the mileage is the Engineers line reference describing the route as the Great Western Main Line.In the case of the photograph the bridge is near Keynsham. or ~55½ ft. Texas chain In Texas and elsewhere in the Southwestern United States. so that a visiting engineer can uniquely describe the bridge he may be inspecting. that distance from Paddington station. measuring one chain by two and a half chains. which still serve as the basic grid of the city. Miles and chains remain.) was used in surveying Spanish land grants. the vara chain of 20 varas (16. and of the topography of routes and junctions. Cricket pitches The chain also survives as the length of a cricket pitch.
chain wide³roads were almost always one chain wide (20.1 m). Chainage (running distance) is the distance along a curved or straight survey line from a fixed commencing point. For a rectangular tract. Laneways would be half a chain (10. quartersection (160 acres / ~65 ha). Respectively.2 m or 40.1 ft / 64 cm) are still common and readily available in the United States and Canada. and quarter-quarter-section (40 acres / ~16 ha).1 chain (Ø § 2.2 m). . Roads named Three Chain Road etc. particularly in Victoria.S. multiply the number of turns of one of these wheels for each of two adjacent sides. In rural areas the roads were wider. Australia. parcels of land are often described in terms of the section (640 acres / ~259 hectare).117 m) in urban areas. then divide by 1000 to get the area in acres. and 20 chains (one quarter-mile / 402 m) on a side. and two chain (40 m) roads were local roads in farming communities. Also in the United States the chain is normally used as the measure of the rate of spread of wildfires (chains per hour). sometimes one and a half or two chains (30.6 km). three chain (60 m) roads between smaller localities. Under the U. 40 chains (one half-mile / 805 m).1168 metres. persist until today. these square divisions of land are approximately 80 chains (one mile / 1. up to ten chains (201 m) where a stock route was required. similar to mileage. Five chain (100 m) roads were surveyed as major roads or highways between larger towns. both in the predictive National Fire Danger Rating Systems as well as in after-action reports. Public Land Survey System. An acre is nominally the area within a rectangle 1 chain by 10 chains. North American agriculture In North America the chain is still used in agriculture: measuring wheels with a circumference of 0. and a chain equals 20.
the link chain symbolizes a rugged era. the distances measured with such an instrument are normally measured in feet (and usually decimal fractions of a foot. a short axe or hatchet is commonly tied to the end of the chain. General Land Office are shown in chains. The term chain in this case usually refers to the measuring instrument rather than a unit of length. a federal law was passed in 1785 (the Public Land Survey Ordinance) that all official government surveys must be done with a Gunter's chain (also referred to as the "surveyor's chain"). Railroads in the United States have long since used decimal fractions of a mile. When working in dense bush. In the U. but the New York City Subway continues to use a chaining system using the 100 foot engineer's chain. Other instruments Also in North America a modern variant of the chain as a tool is used in forestry for traverse surveys. THE SURVEYOR'S CHAIN To surveyors and collectors alike. The chain was a precision part of a surveyor's equipment and. and also marked in the first metre every decimetre. 50 metres long. to ease working in dense forest.S. along the train routes in the 19th century. . and thrown through the bush in the direction of the traverse. not inches). This modern chain is a static cord (thin rope). known as the engineer's chain or Ramsden's chain.48 m).The use of the chain was once very common in laying out townships and mapping the U. when surveying tools and techniques were literally defining America.S. marked with a small tag at each metre. Ramsden's chain American surveyors sometimes used a longer chain of 100 feet (30. Distances on township plats made by the U.S.
had to be calibrated and adjusted frequently.072 inch. published by the W. 12. No. we need to identify the type of chain we own. and is seven and ninety two one hundredths inches long. Gurley Company of Troy. 8. yet was sturdy enough to be dragged through rough terrain for years. the ends of the wore forming the hook being also filed and bent close to the link. . E. to heft it enhances the kinship one feels with the surveyor who toiled in the field long ago. New York.The ordinary Gunter's or surveyor's chain is sixty-six feet or four poles long. . Each chain bears the clues of its use. and furnished with a tally mark at the end of every ten links. & L. Owning a link chain now captures a bit of this glorious past. the materials and design used. A link in measurement includes a ring at each end. and No. 18.as such. .162 inch. 10. . and is composed of one hundred links. No.135 inch. . Sizes of Wire . the lengths of the whole and of each link. such as the wire gauge used. The following is a nicely detailed account from the 1910 Manual of the Principal Instruments used in American Engineering and Surveying. in order to understand its history. Land Surveyor's Chain . The oval rings are about one third stronger than round ones.047 inch.105 inch. the manufacturer's stamps. the presence or absence of brazing.The sizes and diameters of iron and steel wire commonly used in making surveyor's and engineer's chains are as follows: No. In all the chains which we make the rings are oval and are sawed and well closed. No. . to avoid kinking. Noting these components will make it possible to approximate the date and purpose of your link chain with the aid of period manufacturer's catalogs. As collectors. and the presence or absence of linking rings. connected each to each by two rings. 15. the tally-tags.
The handles are of brass and form part of the end links. 12 and 15 best steel wire.In place of the four pole chain just described. 12 steel wire. 8 and 10 refined iron wire. . 10 and 12. 8. by which the length of the chain is adjusted. which are counted by tallies from one end in a single direction. the links and rings of which are securely brazed. The wire is of a low spring temper. Tallies . to which they are connected by a short link and jam nuts. thirty or forty links from either end. as they mark ten. Steel chains are preferred on account of their greater strength. They are either fifty or one hundred feet long. many surveyors prefer a chain two rods or thirty three feet long. and are furnished with swivel handles and tallies like those just described.A very light and strong chain is made of No. is almost incapable of being broken or stretched in careful use.Our surveyors' chains are made of Nos.Engineers' chains differ from surveyors' chains. 8. and have one.Handles . although they are more expensive than those of iron. two. in that a link including a ring at each end is one foot long. Engineers' Chains . twenty. Iron and Steel Wire . and of Nos. and the wire is of steel Nos. Half Chains . though light. and the chain. having only fifty links. The fiftieth link is marked by a rounded tally to distinguish it from the others. 10. Brazed Steel Chains . three or four notches.The tallies are of brass. and for the use of engineers upon railroads and canals have very generally superseded the heavier chains. Our brazed steel chains have been found exceedingly desirable for all kinds of measurement.
A ten meter chain has fifty links and a twenty meter chain one hundred links. and formed into a ring at the other end for convenience in handling. as preferred. The chains are made of iron or steel wire.371 inches long.In chaining. including a ring at each end. to serve as a plumb when the pin is dropped to the ground from the suspended end of the chain. measures 7. Marking Pins . and from one to nineteen in the twenty meter chain. eleven marking pins are needed. and chains of ten and twenty meters are often ordered.The meter is used as a standard measure of length in many countries. . a link. made either of iron. each meter being divided into five links. As a meter is 39. They are about fourteen inches long.Vara Chains .874 inches. Each meter is marked with a round brass tally numbered from one to nine in the ten meter chain. pointed at one end to enter the ground. Marking pins are sometimes loaded with a little mass of lead around the lower end. steel or brass wire.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.