We had started using the *names* we currently use before the metric
system was invented in the 1600s, but the names have represented various
actual measures over time.
e.g., at the time Thomas Jefferson advocated a metric system for the
U.S., he noted the following "gallon" and "bushel" measures in current
* 224 and 1792 cubic inches, according to the standard wine
gallon preserved at Guildhall.
* 231 and 1848, according to the statute of 5th Anne.
* 264.8 and 2118.4, according to the ancient Rumford quart, of
1228, examined by the committee.
* 265.5 and 2124, according to three standard bushels preserved
in the Exchequer, to wit: one of Henry VII., without a rim; one dated
1091, supposed for 1591, or 1601, and one dated 1601.
* 266.25 and 2130, according to the ancient Rumford gallon of
1228, examined by the committee.
* 268.75 and 2150, according to the Winchester bushel, as
declared by statute 13, 14, William III., which has been the model for
some of the grain States.
* 271, less 2 spoonfuls, and 2168, less 16 spoonfuls, according
to a standard gallon of Henry VII., and another dated 1601, marked E.
E., both in the Exchequer.
* 271 and 2168, according to a standard gallon in the Exchequer,
dated 1601, marked E., and called the corn gallon.
* 272 and 2176, according to the three standard corn gallons
last mentioned, as measured in 1688, by an artist for the Commissioners
of the Excise, generally used in the seaport towns, and by mercantile
people, and thence introduced into some of the grain States.
* 277.18 and 2217.44, as established for the measure of coal by
the statute of 12 Anne.
* 278 and 2224, according to the standard bushel of Henry VII.,
with a copper rim, in the Exchequer.
* 278.4 and 2227.2, according to two standard pints of 1601 and
1602, in the Exchequer.
* 280 and 2240, according to the standard quart of 1601, in the
* 282 and 2256, according to the standard gallon for beer and
ale in the Treasury.
There are, moreover, varieties on these varieties, from the barrel
to the ton, inclusive; for, if the barrel be of herrings, it must
contain 28 gallons by the statute 13 Eliz. c. 11. If of wine, it must
contain 31½ gallons by the statute 2 Henry VI. c. 11, and 1 Rich. III.
c. 15. If of beer or ale, it must contain 34 gallons by the statute 1
William and Mary, c. 24, and the higher measures in proportion.
IMHO, the great error was in trying to force conversion of popular
measures first. Millions of people were given the impression that they
were going to have to learn a whole new system of measures just to eat,
drink, and cook. Yet it really makes little difference to me whether my
bottle of wine is measured in ml or oz, as long as it's around six or
eight gills, depending on whose gill you're using.
email@example.com is Joshua Putnam
I don't recall the sequence exactly, but ISTR that Australia converted
to the Metric system in stages. E.g., gasoline sold by the liter rather
than by the gallon from one date; other items sold by the (Kilo)gram
rather than by the pound from another date; paper sizes changed to
metric on yet another date; etc. Currency conversion -- from pounds.
shillings and pence to dollars and cents -- had taken place many years
I notice we're finally getting to the heart of the matter. The problem
with the US conversion attempt was that they tried to convert popular
measures (presumably that means commonly-used measures) not just first
but at all. The metric system is only useful when there's frequent
calculations involved and even then it's not always the best measure.
Of course in scientific activities and in metalworking there's a
distinct advantage but as you correctly point out what does it matter
if your wine is metric or imperial? Although given the
internationalization of the product, metric should probably
predominate. Why convert the length of a football field? Or furlongs
for horse racing? Or the mile as in track? It's a four minute what?
Silly! And mph is equally stupid to convert. What calculations do you
ever do with mph? Hmmm...the speed limit is 55 mph...what's that in
feet per second? Yeah, that happens. Actually it was road distance and
mph that was the first thing the metric conversion freaks tried to
push on the US and of course people couldn't see the point and
resisted. I still can't see the point.
In some areas metric is particularly poorly suited as a measurement
and perhaps it should be the Euros adopting the US system rather than
the other way around. Take lumber measurement. Most of the time the
tolerance is at least a sixteenth of an inch sometimes an eighth. Wood
will expand and contract that much in a commonly used eight or ten
feet so more accurate measures are not necessary. Well, what's an
eighth in metric? About 2.5mm IIRC. Exceedingly difficult to see on a
tape. Even if you said 2mm or 3mm it's still hard to see and it's a
kludge. Moreover lots of measurement is in halves so the base 10
measure does very poorly: 10, 5, 2.5, 1.25... whereas the base 2 or 16
or 64 (an even number) is very natural: 1" , 1/2", 1/4" 1/8"... Based
on the strength of "2 by" lumber the 16" OC is an appropriate spacing.
Do it in metric and you either end up with an unnatural value or you
have to round up or down too much.
IMO the US is currently just about where it should be. Convert the
manufacturing and scientific stuff to metric--we've still got a little
way to go in manufacturing but the Chinese'll do the job for us
<g>--but keep the non-calculation items where they are. There's no
point in conversion just for conversion's sake.
That makes no sense. The wood doesn't expand or contract in any unit.
They're all arbitrary. If you can't see the markings on the rule/tape,
, it's not the measuring sytems's fault. Get glasses or don't do work
that requires such precise measurements.
All fine and dandy...assuming you're starting with an even number.
What's half of 11 3/16"? A third of 1'-10"? Nine times 13/64ths?
Those are the more frequent types of caculations and the metric system
is far superior in those instances.
Yep, that's the heart of the problem all right. People who think that
if we were to go metric (which we should have long ago), they would
have to convert from metric back to the old measures every time. Why
would anyone be doing that? Spacing of studs is now 16". ln metric it
would change to an even metric measure and there would be absolutely no
need to EVER refer back to inches again. Same for all the other
measures. So a football field would have to go from being 100 yards to
something even in metric - big deal, the world would end? Buy a liter
of milk or a quart of milk? Who cares, you want 'about that much milk"
and without looking at the bottle you have no idea how much a quart is
It is people who were scared of a boogeyman (having to convert back to
inch measure) that sank the conversion.
On thing that was crazy, however, was the conversion of old measurements
to new in some circumstances. E.g., although the 35mph speed limit
became 60kph (I think that was a Federal -- i.e., nationwide
conversion), the state of Queensland (I don't know about others) decreed
that its old traffic code would be converted precisely, so that people
had to remember for the oral part of the driver's license test that they
were not allowed to park within 3.05 meters of a mailbox ("3 meters" was
not an acceptable answer).
And we would read nonsense in the paper such as a traffic accident
report in which a vehicle was alleged to have been traveling at
"approximately [/sic/] 72.42Kph"; or a report that the height of a
robbery suspect was "approximately [/sic/] 1.83 meters." It's clear that
in both cases people gave estimates in round figures (45mph and 6ft,
respectively), but some idiot had to use a calculator and give figures
to 2 decimal places -- "delusions of accuracy" I called it.
Oh, we need 'em. We also need the fractional English nutz-n-boltz.
I can use either. Metric is a little simpler, but not all that
much. Fractional inch is base2, rather than base10. Maybe the
rest of the world should give up on base10 and move to base2.
After all, computers are base2 everywhere. Everyone knows the
computers run the world, ergo...
There are 10 types of people, those who understand binary and those
who don't. ;-)
Once, I found a book (by a Russian) that claimed everybody 'd be
better off with base 3 (closest whole number to e).
I'd actually recommend base 16. It's easy for people to learn, and
easily converted to/from base 2.
I have written programs for the 6502 processor, and always liked %10
better than 10b.
Is that the price of beer in London? ;-) Really, that's what I think
of when I hear of 20-ounce pints.
I like mine, its light and cheap... Its orange too!
Hmm - Conspiracy with the wrench suppliers?
Never had a problem with mine, Actually I have both kinds depending on use.
I hate it when I cant find my chuck key.
Yea - Have you seen the 'backstab' type wirenuts now?
So - They last plenty long enough anyway
As long as they work
I guess you have small cars. Reaching over the seat of my full size pickup
would be a pain. The power windows make that easier.
There are plenty worse things you could rant about.
Designers at craftsman who can make a 'stud finder' with 97 other functons
that fails at finding the stud that a $3 zircon can find.
Well - I thought I waould have a bunch other worse things off the top of my
head but i don't anyway, relax, it could be worse.
Well, I hate all plastic snow shovels, and what really pisses me off
is that you cant buy metal ones anymore unless they are second hand at
a garage sale.
By the way, why does every one of your posts come thru 3 times? You
need to fix your software. (You probably used metric when you set it
Where the hell do you live? Can't buy a metal snow shovel - yeah
right. Maybe you should stop shopping at Toys R Us and try a
reasonable hardware store, Home Depot, etc. They all sell metal
shovels, and you'll most likely have a choice of aluminum or steel as
Well, considering you are a trolling asshole, I dont have much to say
to you, but neither my local hardware store or Menards carry them,
unless you include metal manure shovels, which is what I have used
since my $15 plastic piece of shit broke in half after about one hours
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