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Author Topic: Units of Measurement  (Read 4326 times)

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Offline Bernard C

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Units of Measurement
« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2006, 05:11:33 AM »
I notice that everyone seems to have ignored my point about careful use of imperial measures conveying accuracy of measurement as well as quantity, something that the metric system has completely lost.   The artificial metric system is the one which is archaic and inefficient, whereas the imperial system has evolved to near perfection, or, at least, maximum efficiency.    The only two reasons that imperial is thought to be difficult today are that it is not taught at our schools, and that calculators are not designed for it.

Bernard C.  8)
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Offline taylog1

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Units of Measurement
« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2006, 07:43:36 AM »
Quote
Also I notice that everyone seems to have ignored my point about careful use of imperial measures conveying accuracy of measurement as well as quantity, something that the metric system has completely lost.


I sort of agree with what you're saying here, however I don't think it's quite that bad.

I would suggest that a fair number of people, when they read 1.25 cm, would understand it to mean  1 1/4 cm, rather than rounded to the nearest 1/10th of a mm.

If you take 2" - 5cm as an example, then you've got 24 different imperial described distances using 1/12" as the smallest measure, and 20 different metric described distances using 0.25cm as the smallest measure.

OK, you could use 1/16" which would give you more - my point is that metric's not as bad as it first appears for measuring distance.

[having said that, I find myself using C for low temperatures, and F for warm temperatures, so I'd agree that measures can feel more naturally suited to certain tasks]

taylog1

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Offline Glen

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Units of Measurement
« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2006, 08:37:59 AM »
To Adam - huge thanks for your input on the barrel measurements at Sowerby's. Fascinating information. I don't know if Fenton gave their barrels specific size references, but I do know what they were able to pack inside their standard barrel.

Any one of these below....

 ~~~ 6 full water sets
 ~~~ 4 full punch sets
 ~~~ 48 regular size compotes
 ~~~ 72 standard vases
 ~~~ 90 mixed items (including bowls, compotes, vases, bonbons)

Glen
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Offline Frank

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Units of Measurement
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2006, 11:03:47 AM »
Another aspect of the imperial system that has not been mentioned but is highly relevant is that it was also manipulated politically for financial advantage and from country to country there are variations in how the different units are defined. One that is dangerous in the antiques trade are the unscrupluous who would give rare metal weights in avoirdpois when the tradition was troy weight. I always carried spring balances in both systems so that I could prove the case on those early morning stalls at Bermondsey.

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Connie

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Units of Measurement
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2006, 11:55:41 AM »
I was introduced the metric system in high school as a novelty.  In college, it was used some some science classes.

But I still think in Imperial measurements.  When posters here use metric measurements, I just skim past them because they mean nothing tome. If I am really interested in the item, I have to do a conversion since I just do not think in metric.

I am involved in international trade and almost all goods imported into the US are dual labeled.

I have a 13 y/o daughter and I know that while she has been taught metric in school, it is not the primary system used and she also thinks in inches, yards, Farenheit and gallons.

If you are marketing glass to the US remember that the baby boomers are the group with the highest buying power at this time in the antique/collectibles market and I can almost guarantee that few think in metric.

JMHO  8)

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Offline Glen

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Units of Measurement
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2006, 01:18:19 PM »
Connie, I agree with you on every point you make.

As an observation only, I also offer the following, out of interest:

Some USA glass auctions (based on several major auction houses for glass, personally known to me) give measurements in inches and fractions thus - eg. 6 5/8" No metric equivalent given.

Christie's in London and New York give measurements in inches and fractions first (as example above), followed by metric equivalent in parenthesis. Christie's in Amsterdam only give metric.

One major UK auction house (ceramics and glass) I came across gave the measurements in inches only - but "decimalised" the fraction eg. 4.75"

Glen
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Offline David Hier

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Units of Measurement
« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2006, 02:07:45 PM »
Money is almost always counted in units of ten, so why do people find it difficult to understand units of measurement that follow the same principal?
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Offline Frank

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Units of Measurement
« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2006, 02:41:52 PM »
Monetary units, now THEY are the bane of researchers! Not only do you need to determine what currency is being used (not always obvious) but to try and get that original price into an understandable 'modern' coomparison. This is best achieved, once the currency is known, by comparing to the average incomes in the country of the currency. This information is about the hardest to come by and only a few examples exist on-line.

UK is as good an example as any with £.s.d. being broken down historically by guinea (£1.05) 20 shillings 240 pennies, 480 half-pennies, 960 farthings, and 1,920 Qu's. Then of course there were third penny coins, groats, (4d) pieces of eight (Spanish currency origin), florins, crowns, half-crowns and slang - tanner, pony, bob, monkey etcetera.

Even more confusing is that the value of a coin was originally based om metal content so the value of a Guinea (Gold coin) was a variable. Fortunately most of glass research is in standardised currency forms.

The tendency in the past to sell glass wholesale by weight was very sensible as it was weight that determined the cost of transport. And of course Adam's example based on volume - which to a certain extent equated to weight. The use of volumetric weight rather than weight or volume alone is still commonly used in pricing transport.

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Offline Ivo

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Units of Measurement
« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2006, 04:43:46 PM »
Quote from: "Frank"

The tendency in the past to sell glass wholesale by weight was very sensible as it was weight that determined the cost of transport.


True from a British perspective - it had more to do with the excise on glass which was in place from 1750 to 1850. As far as I know elsewhere (Bohemia, Germany, France) glasses were sold by the dozen.

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Offline Leni

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Units of Measurement
« Reply #29 on: May 22, 2006, 11:24:28 AM »
I think imperial was originally based on a human scale, whereas metric is a scientific scale and is therefore more accurate.  Personally, I find imperial is an easier measurement to visualise (but I realise that may simply be due to my age  :oops:  :roll:  )

However, the problems with the Hubble telescope shows the importance of being very precise about exactly which scale is being used, and giving both measurements is a useful way round this.  Personally, I wouldn't think it mattered which was put first, although the one used by the maker would seem logical.
Leni

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