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Chains & rods are what first sprang to mind, but I don't think they were ever common. The definition of 'furlong' from http://physics.info/system-english/ makes it seem like it could have been in common usage:

  Literally, the length of a furrow. A sensible length for
  farmers that later evolved into the acre, which is discussed
  later in this section. A standard furrow is 220 yards long
  or ⅛ mile
Google's ngram tool makes it seem like it was never a contender with the yard, mile, or league.



Furlongs still are in common usage in certain applications. Horse racing, particularly.

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