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A Scottish Half Pint Spirit Measure c1880

Heading : Victorian two gill, half pint measure 
Period : 
Origin :
Colour : 
Elongated and flared 
Bulbous with rib moulded base. 
Base : 
Polished pontil 
Glass Type : Lead.
Size :  Height 14.8cm 
Condition : Excellent, no chips or cracks.. 
Restoration : None 
Weight :  577 grams


Measures with sand blasted or cut measuring lines became mandatory under law in the 1878 weights and measures act. Measures, as evidenced by this example, mirror contemporary styles for carafes and decanters. This  moulded example with applied may have been manufactured prior to 1878 and had the measuring line added some years later post the legislation

In Northern Ireland and Scotland the standard measure for spirits was 1/4 gill and a half gill was "a double". In England and Wales the standard measure was 1/5th of a gill. This difference was the result of a combination of different tax regimes and the English obsession with gin. 

We have run an experiment with the measures that we do have. The variance in capacity of a quarter gill measure was the highest. These are all Scottish measures with "fill lines". None had greater than a quarter gill capacity, all were below, some by 19 percent. This demonstrates that either some were poorly made or they had fill lines added after 1878. The fact that a Scotsman would rob another Scotsman or anyone else for that matter was never beyond doubt. 

It took an Englishman , one Mr Richardson whilst working at James Couper in Glasgow to solve the issue with measurement marks once and for all. The Richardson patent introduced a button that unlike measurement marks could not be polished away by unscupulous landlords. Sadly it was not until 1963 that it became illegal to sell short measures.




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  • Product Code: 21042411
  • Availability: Sold
  • £50.00

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