The Chairman, Maureen Spinks, welcomed 32 members to the inaugural Richard Phillips Memorial Lecture held on 27th May 2016. Badsey Society member, Mick Taylor, was selected as the first speaker, to give a lecture on his amazing collection of rules. Mick was born and bred in Aldington and has spent most of his life in the area. He began collecting rules in 1985 when he found a rule in a batch of woodworking tools which he had just bought. Originally he was going to sell the rule, but then decided to sell the tools and keep the rule. And that is how Mick's amazing collection of rules began - a collection which would be the envy of many museum.
Mick took us on a brief history of rules, beginning with the Greeks, Egyptians and Romans who all had measuring instruments. He explained that the earliest non-notched carpenter's rule, that is a calculator, was found on the wreck of the Mary Rose. In 1556, Leonard Digges wrote the first account of a carpenter's rule. Mick's own earliest carpenter's rule dates from about the mid 17th century. By the 1900s, few rules had tables on them. The last ones were made in the 1980s. Carpenter's rules, which had continued for over 400 years, then disappeared almost overnight.
The sector was invented in 1562, originally thought by Galileo, but later evidence shows it was invented by del Monte. Mick’s earliest sector dates to 1600, and was used for navigation, geometry and trigonometry. The sector had quite a long life until 1930.
Mick’s rule collection is unique, and many of his rules have been used for the illustrations in the definitive book on the subject, “The Rule Book: Measuring for the Trades” by Jane and Mark Rees.
Maureen extended a warm welcome in particular to Richard's partner, Lizzie Noyes, and his son, Will Phillips. Lizzie said that, as a lecturer, Richard would have very much appreciated the idea of a Memorial Lecture and, with his great love of maths and computers, he had always been fascinated by Mick's collection. On one occasion, Richard used some of Mick’s rules in his “Problem Pictures” calendar of 2009. He showed a picture of a hat with two rules and posed the following problem: “These rules were used to measure the size of hats. Hats were measured in inches across the inside. What is the size of the hat in the picture? Why does the rule need a section that slides out? On the back of the rule there is a table with head measurements for different sizes of hats. To measure your head, take a measuring tape and place it around the circumference of your head, slightly above your ears. What size of head would this hat fit? Try to find a way of calculating the hat size for any size of head.”
Richard would very much have appreciated the fact that Mick had been chosen to deliver the first lecture; it was just a shame that Richard could not have been present to have heard the lecture himself.