- Jun 17, 2003Rick wrote:
> Very, very cool.Thanks. Now that I look at it, I notice that I forgot to put in chains.
Surveys used to be made with the surveyor's (or Gunter's) chain. A chain
is 66 ft. in length (or four rods) and divided into 100 links of 7.92
inches. On a surveyor's chain, the links are made of a straight piece of
iron or steel wire with a ring at each end. There were normally tally tags
attached every 10 links (to assist in the measurements) and a triangular
handle at each end of the chain to hold it.
The use of a chain for measuring was first recorded in 1579. Edmund Gunter
(1581-1626), an English mathematician, designed his chain to be 66 ft.
long so that 10 square chains should equal one acre. Even though it was
still used into the early 1900's, the chain was heavy and clumsy,
difficult to stretch tight and straight, and changed its length rapidly
from wear. The steel tape measure was patented in the US in 1867 and
replaced the chain altogether in the early 1900s.
I went to high school in Lodi, California. Lodi (originally Mokelumne) was
built by the railroad, apparently to spite the owner of nearby Wood's
Ferry (now Woodbridge), who wanted too high a price to use his property
for a train station. The surveyors started out at the northeast corner of
the new town and worked their way south and east, laying out streets as
they went. Although the original town was only about six blocks by six
blocks or so, their chains stretched so much during the survey that Lodi
Avenue, at the south end of the old town, is about 30 yards further south
at the west end of the original survey area than it is at the railroad
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