Saturday, 13 June 2009

Some more measurements

Those who found the posting about weights and measures interesting and informative prepare to be amazed. There are loads more. These, however, are about as useful as a chocolate tea-pot. and will leave you as confused as a cow on Astroturf.

Whilst Imperial weight is what we use for most things in the UK some things like precious metals were weighed in troy weight (named after the French city of Troyes).
There were 24 grains in a pennyweight; 20 pennyweights in an ounce which should not be confused with an Imperial or Avoirdupois ounce.

Apothecaries weighed their medicines in Apothecaries weight which is logical enough! In this scale 20 grains weighed a scruple; 8 scruples weighed a drachm or drachma; and there were 8 drachms to the ounce which was the same as an ounce Troy. But to confuse matters further apothecaries used the name drachm in their fluid measurements in which 60 minims equalled a drachm which was equivalent to one teaspoonful.

Some things were measured by volume not by weight and for this there was a separate scale. Its table went as follows:-
4 gills = 1 pint
2 pints = 1 quart
4 quarts = 1 gallon
2 gallons - 1 peck
4 pecks = 1 bushel
8 bushels = 1 quarter
2 quarters = 1 crannock
36 bushels = 1 chaldron
Meanwhile 9 gallons equalled a firkin
2 firkins = 1 kilderkin

So now you know....


  1. Wow! I "prepared to be amazed"...but I still don't think I was prepared.
    Hey, me, a chocolate tea-pot would be VERY useful! Two of my favorite items combined into one???!!! Astounding!
    :^) :^) ;^)

  2. But Cynthia - think how badly it would pour; the tea would go everywhere (once you'd eaten the spout which I bet would be where everyone would start!)

  3. I am a day behind with reading blogs, as we had to travel over to Brighton yesterday to visit a dear friend in the hospital there.
    This is a very nostalgic post, I remember this being rammed into us verbatim at school, and I have never had to use these measurements again!!!
    Such is life.
    Love Granny

  4. I'm sure it was good for your soul, Granny. That was always the excuse for learning or doing useless things. "It's good for your soul." Duh!

  5. I agree with Cynthia, a solid chocolate teapot would be quite useful! Of course, you'd have to get a new one every time you made tea, but it would be chocola-tea and delicious!

    Another strange unit: Avoirdupois. In French it literally means "to have weight," but I've only encountered it in the US (there was an exhibit somewhere on farm history, and Avoirdupois weights were on display in one of the cases.)

  6. In the UK, Archduchess, we used to commonly refer to Imperial measures as Avoirdupois when I was young (at least, I think they were the same) but you don't tend to hear the word now.


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