This is a wool gauge by J. & J. Baldwin of Halifax, West Yorkshire for use in making rugs. It has the following inscription for use:
“To prepare the wool for working, wrap it with an even tension around the gauge and divide along the groove with a knife or scissors”.
There is a slot where the blade can be pushed in. The gauge was used to cut thick wool into short pieces when making a hooked rug. A hooked rug is made by pulling fabric or yarn through a woven base.
J & J Baldwin set up a spinning company in the 19th century. This company produced yarns for knitting machines. This gauge would have been used alongside their yarns and wools to help homeowners in the production of homemade rugs. By the 1930’s making rugs was a popular pastime. The wool needs to be a thicker ply than the usual wool used in knitting to be hard wearing.