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1753Re: inches

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  • Matthew Takeda
    Jun 13, 2003
      Dunno if you guys would find this interesting or not, but I compiled it a few years ago from various sources. Took me a while to remember where I put the file.
      Digit     the width of a finger, 0.75 inch
      Inch      width of a thumb, Norman/Anglo-Saxon 3 barleycorns
      Nail      length of the last two joints of the middle finger, 3 digits or 2.25 inches
      Palm      width of the palm, 3 inches
      Hand      4 inches
      Shaftment         width of the hand and outstretched thumb, 2 palms or 6 inches, Anglo-Saxon 6.5 inches
      Span      width of the outstretched hand, from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger, 3 palms or 9 inches
      Foot      Roman 12 inches, Norman 36 barleycorns, Anglo-Saxon 2 shaftments, pes naturalis, an actual foot length, about 9.8 inches
      Yard      Norman 108 barleycorns, distance from the tip of the nose to the end of the middle finger of the outstretched hand
      Cubit     length of the forearm, 18 inches
      Fathom   arm span from one fingertip to the other
      Gyrd or Rod       Anglo-Saxon 20 natural feet, Norman 5.5 yards (16.5 feet)
      Stadium   Roman 625 feet (shorter than English feet)
      Furlong (fuhrlang)        Anglo-Saxon 40 rods
      Mile      Roman 1000 paces (~5,000 feet) or 8 stadia, British 8 furlongs/1,760 yards/5,280 feet
      League    the distance a person could walk in an hour. Ancient Celtic unit (about 1.5 Roman miles, roughly 1.4 statute miles, 2275 meters) adopted by the Romans as the leuga. In many cases 3 miles, using whatever version of the mile was current. At sea, 3 nautical miles (1/20 degree, 3.45 statute miles, exactly 5556 meters). US and Britain 3 statute miles on land or 3 nautical miles at sea. However, many occurrances of the "league" in English-language works are actually references to the Spanish league (the legua), the Portuguese league (legoa) or the French league (lieue). Legoa, Portuguese league, 3 milhas (Portuguese miles)(about 3.836 statute miles, 6174.1 meters). Legua, Spanish league, 5000 varas (close to 2.6 miles, 4.2 km). Using the Texas definition of the vara, 2.6305 miles, 13,889 feet, 4,233.4 m. Using the traditional Spanish definition, 2.597 miles, 13,712 feet, or 4,179.4 m. Abolished by Philip II in 1568, remained in wide use, especially in the Americas. Late 18th and early 19th centuries, a league of 8000 varas (4.15 miles or 6680 meters) was legal in Spain. At sea, Spanish sailors used the usual marine league (3 nautical miles or 5,556 meters) or Philip V's "geographical" league of 1/17.5 degree (3.429 nm, 6,350.5 m). Used informally in Argentina and in other Spanish-speaking countries as a metric unit equal to exactly 5 kilometers (3.107 miles). Lieue, French league: a variety of lieue units were used for land measurement in France, but generally these units were around 2.4-2.5 statute miles in length. In the 18th century, the legal unit was the lieue de poste, defined to equal 2000 toises or 2 milles (2.4221 miles, 3,898 meters). In metric France the lieue is now considered to equal exactly 4 kilometers (2.4855 miles). At sea, the lieue was often taken to equal 1/25 degree or 2.4 nautical miles (4,445 meters, 2.7619 miles), gradually replaced by the internationally recognized 3 nautical miles.

      Acre      (French journal, German morgen/tagwerk) 1 furlong (40 rods) X 4 rods. 10 = 1 square furlong, 640 = 1 square mile.

      Grain     Anglo-Saxon 1 barleycorn
      Scruple   20 grains, 1/3 troy ounce (approx. 1.2960 gm) from the Latin scrupulus, meaning a small, sharp stone. Similar to French and Russian scrupule, Italian scrupolo, and German skrupul are equal to 20 of the local unit corresponding to the grain and all are equivalent to something in the range 1.1-1.3 grams.
      Pennyweight       Anglo-Saxon weight of a penny/24 grains
      Dram      60 grains, 3 scruples, 1/8 troy ounce (approx. 3.8879 gm, about 2.1943 avoirdupois drams) Italian dramma 72 grani (approx. 3.5 gm)
      Ounce     Anglo-Saxon 480 grains/20 pennyweights
      Pound     Anglo-Saxon 12 ounces/5,760 grains

      Grain     Anglo-Saxon 1 barleycorn
      Dram      1/256 pound /1/16 ounce/27.34375 grains (about 1.7718 gm), from Latin dragma, from Greek drachme: handful. The word is usually spelled "drachm" in Britain and "dram" in the United States, but both spellings are pronounced "dram."
      Ounce     1/16 pound/437.5 grains
      Pound     16 ounces/7,000 grains
      Clove     7 pounds
      Stone     14 pounds
      Quarter   28 pounds
      Hundredweight     British 112 pounds. Equivalent to  German zentner, French quintal. US (British cental) 100 pounds
      Barrel    commercial, varying with the commodity being measured. In the U.S., for example, a barrel of flour traditionally holds 196 pounds (88.90 kg) and a barrel of beef, fish, or pork 200 pounds (90.72 kg). A barrel of cement is traditionally equal to 4 bags, which is 376 pounds (170.55 kg) in the U.S. and 350 pounds (158.76 kg) in Canada.
      Ton       20 hundredweight, British (long) 2,240 pounds, US (short) 2,000 pounds

      fluid scruple     British 1/3 fluidram (about 1.1839 ml)
      Fluid dram or fluidram (fl dr)    apothecary. 1/8 fluid ounce, US 3.696 691 ml, British imperial 3.551 633 ml
      Ounce     volume of 1 ounce of water (approx.), British imperial 28.413 063 ml, US 29.573 531 ml, 8 fluid drams
      Pint      1/2 quart, British imperial 20 ounces, US 16 ounces
      Quart     ¼ gallon
      Gallon    Anglo-Saxon volume of 8 pounds of wheat dry, otherwise varied by type of liquid. British imperial volume of 10 pounds of water under specified conditions, 277.42 cubic inches. US 231 cubic inches liquid (British wine gallon), US 268.8 cubic inches dry (British corn gallon)
      Peck      2 gallons dry
      Bushel    4 pecks dry
      Kilderkin         British 1/2 barrel, 2 firkins. For the current British barrel, 18 imperial gallons, 2.9 cubic feet, 78 liters (older kilderkins were generally in the range of 16-18 gallons). From Dutch “small cask”
      Barrel US 31.5 gallons (about 4.211 cubic feet or 119.24 l) (same as the traditional British wine barrel). British imperial 36 imperial gallons (about 5.780 cubic feet, 163.66 l). Traditional British beer and ale barrel, 5.875 cubic feet, 166.36 l. There are other official barrels, defined in certain U.S. states; most of them fall in the general range of 30-40 gallons. A barrel of beer in the U.S., for example, is usually 31 U.S. gallons (117.35 liters). The origin of the standard symbol bbl is not clear. The "b" may have been doubled originally to indicate the plural (1 bl, 2 bbl), or possibly it was doubled to eliminate any confusion with bl as a symbol for the bale. By international agreement a barrel of petroleum, bo (barrel of oil), equals 42 US gallons (about 158.987 l), same size as the traditional tierce, a wine barrel. US dry barrel 105 dry quarts (about 4.083 cubic feet, 115.63 l) (This is the only case in the United States customary system where a dry volume is less than the corresponding fluid volume.) For certain commodities, other sizes are traditional in the U.S.; for example, a barrel of sugar was traditionally 5 cubic feet (about 141.58 liters).
      Tierce    old English unit 1/3 butt, 42 US gallons, almost exactly 159 liters. The name of the unit is French; it is derived from the Latin tertius meaning 1/3.
      Hogshead          traditional unit of volume for liquids. Originally varied with the contents, often being equal to 48 gallons of ale; 54 of beer; 60 of cider; 63 of oil, honey, or wine; or 100 of molasses. US 2 barrels, or 63 gallons (traditional British wine hogshead)(exactly 14,553 cubic inches, about 8.422 cubic feet, 238.48 l). British imperial 1/2 butt, 52.5 imperial gallons, 8.429 cubic feet, 238.67 l
      Butt      traditional unit of volume used for wines and other alcoholic beverages, 2 hogsheads. US typically 126 gallons (about 16.844 cubic feet, 476.96 l). British imperial butt of beer is 108 imperial gallons (about 17.339 cubic feet, 490.98 l). The word comes from the Roman buttis, a large cask for wine.


      Mô        approx. 0.030303… (i.e., 1?33) mm (about 0.0012 inch)
      Rin       10 mo, 10/33 mm (about 0.303 mm or 0.012 inch)
      Bu        10 rin, 3 1/33 mm (approximately 0.11939 inches)
      Sun       10 bu, 3 1/33 cm (about 3.03 cm or 1.193 inches).  See kujira shaku sun for the slightly longer sun used in measuring cloth.
      Shaku     10 sun, "measure" or "scale", 10/33 m (1891), about 30.30 centimeters or 11.93 inches , “Japanese foot.” The second shaku was a unit of length legal only for cloth, by a law of 1881 125/330 m (37.878... cm, or about 14.9130 inches). When it is necessary to distinguish the two units, the unit for cloth is called kujirajaku and the other kanejaku. “Kane” means “metal,” so kanejaku is a metal shaku. “Kujira” means “whale” (hence kujirajaku is a “whale shaku”) because rulers for measuring cloth were made from whale whiskers.
      Ken       6 shaku, exactly 20/11 meters (1891) (about 1.818 m, 5.965 feet, 1.99 yards), length of a traditional tatami mat. At sea, hiro, “Japanese fathom.”
      Jô        10 shaku, 1-2/3 ken, approx. 3.0303… (i.e., 100?
      33) m (about 3.314 yards)
      Chô       36 jo, 60 ken, 109 1/11 (i.e., 1200/11, or about 109.1) meters
      Ri        36 cho, 1,296 jo, 2,160 ken/ 12,960 shaku, 3.92727… (that is, 3 51/55) km, 3,927 m, 2.44 statute miles, “Japanese league”
      Kai-ri or Ri marin        (“marine ri”) name for the international nautical mile

      Square Shaku      0.091827 square m (approximately 0.988 square feet) or 1/100 tsubo, about 0.033058 square m, 330.6 square cm, about 0.356 square feet, 51.24 square inches
      Tsubo (or bu)     1 sq ken, 36 sq shaku, 3.306 sq m, 35.38sq feet
      Se        30 tsubo, 99.175 sq m, 118.61sq yards
      Tan       10 se, 0.099ha, 991.74 sq m, 0.245a, 1,186.11 sq yd
      Chou      10 tan,   0.992ha, 2.451a

      Mô        approx. 3.75 mg
      Rin       10 mo, 37.5 mg
      Bu        10 rin, 0.375gm, 5.787gr
      Momme     10 bu, 3.750gm, 57.870gr, 0.132 oz
               160 momme, 600.00gm, 1.323lb
               1,000 momme, 3.75kg, 8.27lb(*2)

      Shaku     1/100th shô, exactly 24,010/1,331 ml (1891), 18.039ml, 0.033 pt (dry), 0.610 fl
      oz, about 1.101 cubic inches,
      Go        10 shaku, 180.39ml, 0.328 pt (dry), 6.100 floz
      Sho       10 go, 1.8039l, 1.638 qt (dry), 1.906 qt (liquid)
      To        10 sho, 18.039l, 2.48 pk, 4.766 gal
      Koku      10 to, 180.39l, 5.119 bu, 47.655 ga

      - Matthew Takeda
      - the JOAT
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