Some early tools that helped aid in measurements were the human body, metal bars and the lead line. One of the first standardized forms of measurement was the Egyptian cubit, which was the length from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger.
A piece of black granite or a metal bar the length of a cubit were then used to further standardize the measurement. The cubit was also divided into subunits. These subunits were the digit, which was the width of a finger, the palm and the hand. Four digits equaled one palm and five equaled one hand. A cubit was 28 digits.
Native Americans also used bodies to measure the heights of objects. They would look through their legs and either move closer or further away until they could see the top of the object. Once the top of the object was in focus, the distance from the person to the object was the object's height. The reason for this was due to the 45-degree angle that was created between the person, the bottom of the object and the top of the object.
The lead line was a device used to measure the depth of a body of water. Sailors would tie a weight to a length of line and drop it into the water. The sailor would then pull the line up once it had stopped sinking and measure each arm length of wet line.