I would have to rank the Cady Automatic Hand Micrometer as one of the most beautiful and well made tools I own. The E.J. Cady company is still in business, making this exact model which looks like it has not changed in design or construction since the 1950’s. It would not be out of place on the dashboard of a Bentley.
Like most people, I have a number of dial micrometers, or dial thickness gauges as they are sometimes called. A deep throat Calati is perfect for measuring in the center of large sheets of paper. A super accurate Ames #2 (.0001″) with a 6oz. weight on top is great for obtaining standardized results with slightly compressible material, like leather. A portable, hand held Mitutoyo is small and lightweight, perfect for taking on the road.
Since I only use micrometers these a couple of times a year, the batteries in the digital ones always seemed to be dead. The digital versions are handy, though, if you use them a lot, or need to easily convert between English and Metric systems. The mechanically geared hand on the dial face has a definite nostalgic attraction for me, like the VU meters on a stereo amplifier.
Jeff Peachey is a Professional Associate in the AIC and has served as Chair of Conservators In Private Practice. For more than 25 years, he has specialized in the conservation of books and paper artifacts for institutions and individuals. He is the inventor of the Peachey Board Slotting Machine, which is used by many institutions world wide to help treat books with detached boards, and also makes specialized hand tools. Recently, he was awarded a 2015 Fellowship at the Bellagio Center in Lake Como, Italy, and the 2015 Patricia Fleming Visiting Fellowship in Bibliography and Book History from the University of Toronto, Canada.
(Ed. note: this article first appeared on jeffpeachey.com and is republished here at the author’s request)
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