Gauge for machining replacement low pressure piston rods for Fielden Brothers, Todmorden. Label, dated 20th June 1907, attached to the gauge gives a description. It was used at Robinwood Mill, a working spinning mill from 1843 to 1960.
The label explains the gauge was used ‘for low pressure piston rods to be turned to’. The machinist would put the steel stock in a lathe and turn it down to this required diameter, to ensure it was the best possible fit to the existing glands.
The fact that this gauge was a certain size for a certain engine can help us understand the craft of making and maintaining bespoke steam engines in an era before the standardisation of parts.
This gauge can help to examine the role of engineers in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. The tools and methods machinists and millwrights used in their routine maintenance and repair of steam engines can give us insight into the interplay between people and engines.