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Map measure of the month: the Hugh Rees “Regent”

Regent Map Measurer in the hand

The Regent map measurer, sometimes referred to as a map gauge, was a simple tool sold by London bookseller Hugh Rees Ltd.

Hugh Rees Ltd. were booksellers, publishers and stationers, first established in London, who expanded their operations to Camberley, Surrey, some thirty miles from central London. In addition to reading material, Hugh Rees put their name to various small instruments such as compasses, dividers, wood rulers, protractors and this map measure. The business operated from 1905 and ceased trading in 1949, which suggests an extreme date range for this interesting little measure. Made of steel, this is quite a small tool. Dimensions are 51mm by 90mm, or 92mm across the extreme widest two points. The Regent measure is 0.75mm thick and weighs just 15g.

Front face of the Regent measure

The Regent map measurer, registered number 649846, is of a type sometimes referred to as a map gauge. It is a simple instrument with no moving parts. This type of measure frequently found favour with military officers, of various nationalities, in the early to mid 20th century in addition to it being sold for civilian use. Various map scales are included on the measure. In units of one mile are 1:20 000, 1:40 000, 1:80 000 and 1:100 000. In units of 1000 yards are 1:100 000, 1:80 000, 1:40 000 and 1:20 000. In use, the appropriate scale would be selected and the measure ‘walked’ across a map to indicate multiples of a 1000 yards or a mile.

Regent measure was supplied with a leather case

The points dividing the various scales are quite sharp and this measure would normally be kept in a leather pouch. The measure shown here has one hole in it, other similar Regent measures can be seen that have two, positioned at opposite ends of the instrument.

The Regent measure has a plain back

Three Points of the Compass has looked at a few more Map Measurers in detail. Links to these can be found here.

Hugh Rees letterhead
Hugh Rees letterhead

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