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Encyclopedia > Metrication

Metrication or metrification refers to the introduction of the SI metric system as the international standard for physical measurements—a long-term series of independent and systematic conversions from the various separate local systems of weights and measures. The International System of Units (symbol: SI) (for the French phrase Syst me International dUnit s) is the most widely used system of units. ... Standards are produced by many organizations, some for internal usage only, others for use by a groups of people, groups of companies, or a subsection of an industry. ... Localism usually describes social measures or trends which emphasise or value local and small-scale phenomena. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...

Contents

Historical context

Metrication began in France in the 1790s and spread during the following two centuries to encompass all but three countries with 95% of the world's population. Events and Trends French Revolution (1789 - 1799). ...


As of 2007, only the United States, Liberia, and Myanmar have not adopted the International System of Units as their primary or sole system of measurement,[1] although it is widely used in all countries in science, medicine, and engineering. Note, however, that Myanmar uses metric units on a practical basis in daily life. Antigua is also slowly moving toward implementing the metric system.[2] A system of measurement is a set of units which can be used to specify anything which can be measured. ...


The United Kingdom and Saint Lucia are still in the process of official complete conversion[3] (although the metric system is now used universally in all but a few fields); other countries in the former British Empire completed metrication during the second half of the 20th century, the most recent being the Republic of Ireland, which finalised conversion in early 2005. The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ...


The United States and the United Kingdom see active opposition to metrication today, the main objections being based in localism, tradition, cultural aesthetics, economic impact, repeating decimal notation when dividing by some numbers (3,6,7,9 etc), or distaste for measures viewed as "foreign". While other countries, like France and Japan, also had significant popular opposition at one time for similar reasons, metrication is now largely accepted.

A speedometer in a U.S. car, showing the speed of the vehicle in miles (outer) and kilometres per hour (inner)
A speedometer in a U.S. car, showing the speed of the vehicle in miles (outer) and kilometres per hour (inner)

ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (1068x698, 124 KB) Summary Speedometer, detail of Image:Speedometer. ... ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (1068x698, 124 KB) Summary Speedometer, detail of Image:Speedometer. ... Speedometer gauge on a car, showing the speed of the vehicle in miles and kilometres per hour on the out– and inside respectively. ... Miles per hour is a unit of speed, expressing the number of international miles covered per hour. ... Kilometre per hour (American spelling: kilometer per hour) is a unit of both speed (scalar) and velocity (vector). ...

Before the metric system

For more details on this topic, see History of measurement.

In medieval Europe local laws on weights and measures were set by trade guilds on a city-by-city basis. For example, the ell or elle was a unit of length commonly used in Europe, but its value varied from 40.2 centimetres in one part of Germany to 70 centimetres in The Netherlands to 94.5 centimetres in Edinburgh. A survey of Switzerland in 1838 revealed that the foot had 37 different regional variations, the ell had 68, there were 83 different measures for dry grain and 70 for fluids, and 63 different measures for "dead weights".[4] When Isaac Newton wrote Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica in 1687, he quoted his measurements in Parisian feet so readers could understand the size. Examples of efforts to have local intercity or national standards for measurements, include the Scottish law of 1641, and the British standard Imperial unit system of 1845, which is still commonly used in the UK. At one time Imperial China had successfully standardised units for volume throughout its territory but by 1936 official investigations uncovered 53 dimensions for the chi varying from 200 millimetres to 1250 millimetres; 32 dimensions of the cheng, between 500 millilitres and 8 litres; and 36 different tsin ranging from 300 grams to 2500 grams [5]. However, revolutionary France was to produce the definitive International System of Units which has come to be used by most of the world today. Units of measurement were among the earliest tools invented by humans. ... A guild is an association of craftspeople in a particular trade. ... An ell, when used as a unit of length, is usually 45 inches, i. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... English unit is an American term that refers to a unit in one of a number of systems of units of measurement, some obsolete, and some still in use. ... A foot (plural: feet or foot;[1] symbol or abbreviation: ft or, sometimes, ′ – a prime) is a unit of length, in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ... Sir Isaac Newton (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727) [ OS: 25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726][1] was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, and alchemist. ... Newtons own copy of his Principia, with handwritten corrections for the second edition. ... The Imperial units or the Imperial system is a collection of English units, first defined in the Weights and Measures Act of 1824, later refined (until 1959) and reduced. ... China is the worlds oldest continuous major civilization, with written records dating back about 3,500 years and with 5,000 years being commonly used by Chinese as the age of their civilization. ... The period of the French Revolution in the history of France covers the years between 1789 and 1799, in which democrats and republicans overthrew the absolute monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church perforce underwent radical restructuring. ... Cover of brochure The International System of Units. ...


The desire for a single international system of measurement derives from growing international trade and the need to apply common standards to goods. For a company to buy a product produced in another country, they need ensure that the product will arrive as described. The medieval ell was abandoned in part because its value could not be standardised. It can be argued that the primary advantage of the International System of Units is simply that it is international, and the pressure on countries to conform to it grew as it became increasingly an international standard. SI is not the only example of international standardisation; several powerful international standardisation organisations exist for various industries, such as the International Organisation for Standardisation, the International Electrotechnical Commission, and the International Telecommunication Union. Standards are produced by many organizations, some for internal usage only, others for use by a groups of people, groups of companies, or a subsection of an industry. ... The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from national standards bodies. ... The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is an international standards organization dealing with electrical, electronic and related technologies. ... The International Telecommunication Union (ITU; French: Union internationale des télécommunications, Spanish: Unión Internacional de Telecomunicaciones) is an international organization established to standardize and regulate international radio and telecommunications. ...


International System of Units (SI)

See main article: International System of Units

Scientists, chiefly in France, had been advocating and discussing a decimal system of measurement based on natural units at least since 1640, but the first official adoption of such a system was after the French Revolution of 1789. The creators of the metric system tried to choose units that were non-arbitrary and practical. The original system started with the metre as the unit of distance, the gram as the unit of mass, and the second as the unit of time. Derived units are made from logical combinations of base units. For example, the speed of an object is defined by the number of metres it moves every second — m/s. Cover of brochure The International System of Units. ... The French Revolution (1789–1815) was a period of political and social upheaval in the political history of France and Europe as a whole, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based on... The International System of Units (symbol: SI) (for the French phrase Syst me International dUnit s) is the most widely used system of units. ... Distance is a numerical description of how far apart objects are at any given moment in time. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


An object that is accelerating has a changing speed, so its m/s value changes per second, thus the unit is m/s². The force exerted on an object can be described by its mass times the resulting acceleration of the object—kg·m/s²—also known as the newton (symbol N). Further base units dealing with electricity, light, and quantities of atoms were added later as these sciences became better understood. Acceleration is the time rate of change of velocity, and at any point on a velocity-time graph, it is given by the slope of the tangent to that point basicly. ... In physics, force is an influence that may cause an object to accelerate. ... The newton (symbol: N) is the SI unit of force. ...


The current version of this system was agreed upon in 1971 and is organised and maintained by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (abbreviated BIPM, based on the French version of the name). To avoid confusion over the precise value of base units, this organisation also defines a precise recipe on how to recreate the unit, which is decided by the General Conference on Weights and Measures held every four years. While this is the preferred definition for base units, the kilogram is currently defined based on an artefact, an international prototype which is a small object of platinum-iridium dubbed "Le Grand Kilo" maintained by the BIPM. The International Bureau of Weights and Measures is the English name of the Bureau international des poids et mesures (BIPM, often written in English Bureau International des Poids et Mesures), a standards organisation, one of the three organizations established to maintain the International System of Units (SI) under the terms... The General Conference on Weights and Measures is the English name of the Conférence générale des poids et mesures (CGPM, never GCWM). ... The U.S. National Prototype Kilogram, which currently serves as the primary standard for measuring mass in the U.S. It was assigned to the United States in 1889 and is periodically recertified and traceable to the primary international standard, The Kilogram, held at the Bureau International des Poids et...

Late 18th century French revolutionary "decimal" clockface.
Late 18th century French revolutionary "decimal" clockface.

Along with the French revolutionary calendar there was an attempt to replace the old (and still currently used) hours, minutes, seconds, and weeks by metric time: a decimal time system with 100 seconds in a minute, 100 minutes in an hour, 10 hours in a day, and 10 days in a week. Since this would have resulted in a day of 100,000 seconds, as opposed to the standard 86,400 seconds, adopting the system would have redefined the second as 0.864 standard seconds. The proposed system was opposed by the Church and dropped on 1 January 1806 in "a political move by Napoleon Bonaparte who decided that it was better to have the Church on his side."[6] The Chinese calendar also had an option for a decimal day system, ke, up until the 17th century. Image File history File links Horloge-republicaine1. ... Image File history File links Horloge-republicaine1. ... A French Revolutionary Calendar in the Historical Museum of Lausanne. ... Metric time is the measure of time interval using the metric system, which defines the second as the base unit of time, and multiple and submultiple units formed with metric prefixes, such as kiloseconds and milliseconds. ... is the 1st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1806 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... The Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, akin to the Hebrew calendar & Hindu Calendar, incorporating elements of a lunar calendar with those of a solar calendar. ... Ke (刻) is a traditional decimal time unit equalling 14. ...


Conversion process

There are three common routes that nations take in converting from traditional measurement systems to the metric system. The first is a quick, so called "Big-Bang" route which was used by India in the early 1960s and several other developing nations since then. The second two routes are both variations on the slower phase-in route that tends to be favoured by industrial nations. The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ... A developing country is a country with low average income compared to the world average. ...


The first route, "Big-Bang", is to simultaneously outlaw the use of pre-metric measurement, metricise, reissue all government publications and laws, and change education systems to metric. India's changeover lasted from 1 April 1960, when metric measurements became legal, to 1 April 1962, when all other systems were banned. The Indian model was extremely successful and was copied over much of the developing world. Units of measurement were among the earliest tools invented by humans. ... is the 91st day of the year (92nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 91st day of the year (92nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1962 (MCMLXII) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1962 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


The second possibility, and first phase-in route, is to pass a law permitting the use of metric units in parallel with traditional ones, followed by education of metric units, then progressively banning the use of the older measures. This has generally been a slow route to metric. The British Empire permitted the use of metric measures in 1873, but the changeover was not completed in most countries until the 1970s and 1980s when governments took an active role in the now-independent parts of the empire. Japan, too, followed this route and did not complete the changeover for 70 years. In the United Kingdom, the process is still incomplete. By law, loose goods sold with reference to units of quantity have to be weighed and sold using the metric system and, according to current British law, after 31 December 2009 the use of non-metric measures on labelling will be banned. (Other derogations, such as the roads, will remain in Imperial, at least for a while). However, EU trade commissioner Günter Verheugen made it known on 9 May 2007 that he accepted the arguments of lobbyists and intends to recommend to the Commission that imperial measurements may also be displayed indefinitely as "supplementary indications" - as a second label.[7] The Trading Standards Institute commented that this has been misreported by the press and has led to some public confusion. The TSI stated that it is waiting for a formal Commission report on the matter.[8] The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ... is the 365th day of the year (366th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2009 (MMIX) will be a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Günter Verheugen (born 28 April 1944 in Bad Kreuznach, Rhineland-Palatinate) is a German politician, currently serving as European Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry. ... is the 129th day of the year (130th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ...


A final possibility is to redefine traditional units in terms of metric values. These redefined "quasi-metric" units often stay in use long after metrication is said to have been completed. China followed this route, and thus while scientists in China know and use the kilogram, common people retain the jin (catty), which now has a value of 500 g. In the Netherlands, 500 g is informally referred to as a pond (pound) and 100 g as an ons (ounce), and in Germany and France 500 g is informally referred to respectively as ein Pfund and une livre (one pound)[citation needed]. In Denmark, the re-defined pund (500 g) is occasionally used, particularly among older people and (older) fruit growers, since these were originally paid according to the number of pounds of fruit produced. In Sweden and Norway a mil (mile) is informally equal to 10 km, and this has continued to be the predominantly used unit in conversation when referring to geographical distances. In the 19th century Switzerland had a non-metric system completely based on metric terms, e. g. 1 Fuss (foot) equal to 0.30 m = 10 Zoll (inches) equal to 0.03 m = 10 Linien (lines) equal to 0.003 m. A catty (æ–¤) is a measurement of weight from the European colonial times in the far east, commonly found in wet markets and in supermarkets in Hong Kong. ... The pound (abbreviations: lb or, sometimes in the United States, #) is a unit of mass (called weight in everyday parlance) in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ... The ounce (abbreviation: oz) is the name of a unit of mass in a number of different systems, including various systems of mass that form part of English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ...


It is difficult to judge the degree to which ordinary people change to using metric in their daily lives. In countries that have recently changed, older segments of the population tend to still use an older and more familiar system. Also, local variations abound in what exactly becomes metricated and what does not. In Canada, for example, ovens and cooking temperatures are usually measured in degrees Fahrenheit, and Canadians almost invariably use Fahrenheit for cooking; though this is not necessarily by choice but may instead be due to the overwhelming influence of the neighbouring and largely non-metricated United States. In the UK, which is still in the process of changing over completely, Fahrenheit is almost never encountered (except when some people talk about hot summer weather) while other metric units are often used in conjunction with older measurements, and road signs use miles rather than kilometres. Such countries could be said to be "semi-metric". Demographics refers to selected population characteristics as used in government, marketing or opinion research, or the demographic profiles used in such research. ... This article is about the temperature scale; see also Fahrenheit graphics API. Fahrenheit is a temperature scale named after the German physicist Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686–1736), who proposed it in 1724. ...


Adoption

World map colour-coding year of metrication; Green is 1800, Red is most recent
World map colour-coding year of metrication; Green is 1800, Red is most recent

The metric system, developed in France around the turn of the 19th century, was quickly taken up by Europe's scientists before spreading to traders and industrialists and finally to the common people. France's neighbour, the Kingdom of the Netherlands (present The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg), Mexico and Brazil changed in 1820. Spain and its remaining American colonies changed in the 1850s and 1860s. Italy and Germany went metric after their respective unifications in 1861 and 1871, followed shortly by Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Austria-Hungary and Finland. By 1900, 39 countries in Europe and Latin America were using the metric system. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1357x700, 23 KB) Summary World Map showing Metrication, color-coded by year of conversion. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1357x700, 23 KB) Summary World Map showing Metrication, color-coded by year of conversion. ... Motto: Je Maintiendrai (Dutch: Ik zal handhaven, English: I Shall Uphold) Anthem: Wilhelmus van Nassouwe Capital Amsterdam1 Largest city Amsterdam Official language(s) Dutch2 Government Parliamentary democracy Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Beatrix  - Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende Independence Eighty Years War   - Declared July 26, 1581   - Recognised January 30, 1648 (by Spain... Austria-Hungary, also known as the Dual monarchy (or: the k. ...


The first Asian nations to convert were Mongolia (1918), Cambodia and Afghanistan (in the 1920s). Japan began its slow conversion process in 1891 when it received a copy of the metre standard from the Institute in France. In 1924, the government decided to replace fully the traditional shaku-kan system within ten years; however, public opposition delayed implementation. The U.S. occupation of the late 1940s briefly caused a de facto conversion to U.S. customary units. Metrication was completed in Japan by 1969, although some of the old units are still in informal use. World map showing the location of Asia. ... Shakkan-hō Shakkan-hō) is the traditional Japanese system of measurement. ... U.S. customary units, commonly known in the United States as English units or standard units, are units of measurement that are currently used in the U.S., in some cases alongside units from SI (the International System of Units—the modern metric system). ...


India's conversion was far quicker, paradoxically helped by low popular literacy and the fact that there was previously no nationwide standard measurement system—British Imperial units were used by the upper class, while various regional systems were used by the poor. From 1956 to 1961, India both changed to metric units and decimalised its currency. The Imperial units or the Imperial system is a collection of English units, first defined in the Weights and Measures Act of 1824, later refined (until 1959) and reduced. ...


Hong Kong officially adopted the system under the 1976 Metrication Ordinance. Subsequently many of the wet markets and traditional Chinese medicine shops used the old Chinese system for at least another decade. The Metrication Ordinance was enacted in 1976 in Hong Kong. ... A wet market is a market that sells live animals in an open environment. ... Information in this article or section has not been verified against sources and may not be reliable. ... The Chinese units (Chinese: 市制; Hanyu Pinyin: ; literally market system) are the customary and traditional units of measure used in China. ...


China began conversion in the 1920s, but the process was not completed until Communist times. China also decimalised its native measurement units and redefined them as even amounts of metric units. Thus jin was redefined to equal 500 grams. The Soviet Union changed from traditional units to metric in 1924. The Chinese units (Chinese: 市制; pinyin: ; literally market system) are the customary and traditional units of measure used in China. ... Obsolete Russian weights and measures were used in Imperial Russia and after the Russian Revolution until they were replaced in the Soviet Union by a metric system in 1924. ...

Warning sign about the metric system used in the Republic of Ireland(border between county Louth and Northern Ireland, where the imperial system still used).
Warning sign about the metric system used in the Republic of Ireland
(border between county Louth and Northern Ireland, where the imperial system still used).

Those Arab nations that were colonized by France adopted the system early: Algeria changed in 1840, Tunisia in 1890, and this extended to the other Arab countries after the conquest of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. Jordan, which had been a British mandate, was the last Arab nation to convert, in the 1950s. The German colonies of Rwanda and Burundi and the Belgian Congo (now Democratic Republic of Congo) were the first sub-Saharan African states to go metric in 1910. French territories in Africa were de facto metric while under French rule and kept the metric weights and measures laws when they became independent in the 1950s and 1960s. The last African states to go metric were the former British colonies of southern and eastern Africa. Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Statistics Province: Leinster County Town: Dundalk Code: LH Area: 820 km² Population (2006) 110,894 Website: www. ... Northern Ireland (Irish: ) is a part of the United Kingdom lying in the northeast of the island of Ireland, covering 5,459 square miles (14,139 km², about a sixth of the islands total area). ... Languages Arabic other minority languages Religions Predominantly Sunni Islam, as well as Shia Islam, Greek Orthodoxy, Greek Catholicism, Roman Catholicism, Alawite Islam, Druzism, Ibadi Islam, and Judaism Footnotes a Mainly in Antakya. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Colonialism. ... Motto دولت ابد مدت Devlet-i Ebed-müddet (The Eternal State) Anthem Ottoman imperial anthem Borders in 1680, see: list of territories Capital Söğüt (1299–1326) Bursa (1326–65) Edirne (1365–1453) Constantinople (Ä°stanbul, 1453–1922) Language(s) Ottoman Turkish Government Monarchy [[Category:Former monarchies}}|Ottoman Empire, 1299]] Sultans  - 1281–1326... Mandates in the Middle east and Africa. ... Motto: Travail et Progres (Work and Progress) The Belgian Congo Capital Léopoldville/Leopoldstad Political structure Colony Governor  - 1908-1910 Baron Wahis  - 1946-1951 Eugène Jacques Pierre Louis Jungers  - 1958-1960 Henri Arthur Adolf Marie Christopher Cornelis History  - Established 15 November, 1908  - Congolese independence 30 June, 1960 The Belgian...

Logo of the Australian Metrication Board

Britain and its former colonies (with the notable exception of the United States) began their conversion process in the later part of the 20th century. South Africa began a ten-year process of metrication in 1967 with the creation of Metrication Advisory Board, a Metrication Department and a South African Bureau of Standards. Australia began work in 1969 with a publicity campaign involving lecture tours, theatrical advertisements and the free distribution of metric-sized items, including calendars, rulers and A4-sized leaflets. Public opposition was on points of detail only, and the process was declared completed in 1977. Canada and New Zealand followed similar plans in the 1970s. Ireland completed a very gradual changeover process on 20 January 2005 with the conversion of road speed limits to km/h. Ireland began metrication in 1970 when schools switched to teaching the metric system only. Image File history File links Metrication-australia-logo. ... January 20 is the 20th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... A road speed limit is the maximum speed allowed by law for road vehicles. ...


In January 2007, NASA announced their plan to use metric units for all operations on the moon for their planned lunar operation, partly in order to improve international cooperation. [5] The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an agency of the United States government, responsible for the nations public space program. ... On December 4, 2006, NASA announced the conclusion of its Global Exploration Strategy and Lunar Architecture Study. ...


Exceptions

As of 2007, the metric system dominates all but three countries - Myanmar, Liberia, and the United States[1] - but traditional units are still used in many places and industries. For example, automobile tire pressure is measured as psi in countries such as Brazil which are otherwise completely metric. Office space is often rented in traditional units, such as square foot in Hong Kong, tsubo in Japan or pyoung in Korea (use of these units are to be subject to a fine in South Korea beginning July 2007[9]). Traditional measurements are still used in some areas, e.g. in plumbing the diameters of pipes are still measured in inches in some countries (though not in the UK where all new pipes are metric). Automotive wheel diameters are still set as whole inch measurements (though tire widths are measured in millimetres) and dots per inch continues to be used in describing graphical resolution in the computer industry. Television and monitor screen diameters and bicycle frame sizes are still commonly cited in inches in many countries, however in Australia, centimetres are often used for CRT televisions, whilst CRT computer monitors and all LCD monitors are measured in inches. The only exception to the metrication process in Ireland was the pint in bars, pubs and clubs; though alcohol sold in any other location is in metric units (usually 500 ml to 1 l). A tire pressure gauge is used to measure the pressure of tires on a vehicle. ... A pressure gauge reading in PSI (red scale) and kPa (black scale) The pound-force per square inch (symbol: lbf/in²) is a non-SI unit of pressure based on avoirdupois units. ... A square foot is by definition the area enclosed by a square with sides each 1 foot long. ... Shakkan-hō Shakkan-hō) is the traditional Japanese system of measurement. ... Korea (Korean: 한국 in South Korea or 조선 in North Korea, see below) is a geographic area, civilization, and former state situated on the Korean Peninsula in East Asia. ... A plumber wrench for working on pipes and fittings Plumbing, from the Latin for lead (plumbum), is the skilled trade of working with pipes, tubing and plumbing fixtures for potable water systems and the drainage of waste. ... An inch (plural: inches; symbol or abbreviation: in or, sometimes, ″ - a double prime) is the name of a unit of length in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ... Dots per inch (DPI) is a measure of printing resolution, in particular the number of individual dots of ink a printer or toner can produce within a linear one-inch (2. ... The pint is a unit of volume or capacity. ...

An example of metrication of UK consumer products. Two of the four items are purely metric. Milk is often sold as "1.136 litres / 2 pints". The sausages are labelled "340 g / 12 oz"
An example of metrication of UK consumer products. Two of the four items are purely metric. Milk is often sold as "1.136 litres / 2 pints". The sausages are labelled "340 g / 12 oz"

In some countries (like Antigua, see above), the transition is still in progress. The Caribbean island nation of Saint Lucia announced metrication programs in 2005 to be compatible with CARICOM.[10] In the United Kingdom, the metric system is compulsory in most, but not all, industries. In that country, the metric system had been legal for nearly a century before metrication efforts began in earnest. The government had been making preparations for the conversion of the Imperial unit since the 1862 Select Committee on Weights and Measures recommended the conversion[11] and the Weights and Measures Act of 1864 and the Weights and Measures (Metric System) Act of 1896 legalised the metric system.[12] In 1965, with lobbying from British industries and the prospects of joining the European Community, the government set a 10 year target for full conversion and created the Metrication Board in 1969. Metrication did occur in many areas during this time period, including the re-surveying of Ordnance Survey maps in 1970, decimalisation of the currency in 1971, and the teaching the metric system in schools. However, no date was set for making the use of the metric system compulsory and the Metrication Board was abolished in 1980 following a change in government.[13] The 1989 European Units of Measurement Directive (89/617/EEC) required all member states to make the metric compulsory, however, the British negotiated certain derogations (delayed switchovers), including miles for road signs, and pints for draught beer, cider, and milk sales.[14] Advocacy groups such as the Metric Martyrs, the British Weights and Measures Association, and the Active Resistance to Metrication continue to resist the compulsory use of the metric system, on the grounds that some surveys have shown that a lot of British people do not think in metric terms[15] and because physical repackaging into rounded metric numbers could lead to reducing the quantity of goods sold for the same price.[16] It should, however, be noted that some items have been rounded up during metric changeover, for example spirits were changed from 1/6th of a Gill to 25ml and the standard loaf from 14 ounces to 400g. Image File history File linksMetadata UKproducts-metricusage. ... Image File history File linksMetadata UKproducts-metricusage. ... The Caribbean Community and Common Market or CARICOM was established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas which came into effect on August 1, 1973. ... Metrication is the process of introduction of metric units for measurement. ... The Imperial units or the Imperial system is a collection of English units, first defined in the Weights and Measures Act of 1824, later refined (until 1959) and reduced. ... The European Community (EC) was originally founded on March 25, 1957 by the signing of the Treaty of Rome under the name of European Economic Community. ... The Metrication Board in the United Kingdom was a Quango that existed between 1969 and 1980, when it was wound up to reduce government spending. ... Part of an Ordnance Survey map at 1 inch to the mile scale from 1945 Ordnance Survey (OS) is an executive agency of the United Kingdom government. ... For the system of library classification, see Dewey Decimal Classification. ... Derogation is the partial revocation of a law, as opposed to abrogation or the total abolition of a law. ... The Metric Martyrs is a group of British food sellers and greengrocers that tried to sell their produce in imperial units only i. ... The British Weights and Measures Association, or BWMA, is an advocacy group that aims to uphold the freedom to use the English or Imperial Measurements against the compulsory imposition of the Metric System. ... Active Resistance to Metrication is a British pressure group which removes or amends road signs whose measurements are expressed in metric units only. ... The gill is a unit of measurement for volume, equal in the USA to one half of a cup (120 ml). ... The ounce (abbreviation: oz) is the name of a unit of mass in a number of different systems, including various systems of mass that form part of English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ...


Non-metric countries

A measuring cup, manufactured and sold in the U. S. (circa 1980) features graduations in both metric and U. S. Customary systems. Right-handed persons would have the metric graduations, in front, facing them.
A measuring cup, manufactured and sold in the U. S. (circa 1980) features graduations in both metric and U. S. Customary systems. Right-handed persons would have the metric graduations, in front, facing them.

Liberia, Myanmar (Burma), and the United States are the three countries that have yet to adopt the metric system.[1][17] In the United States its use was made legal as a system of measurement in 1866[18] and the United States was a founding member of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in 1875.[19] The system was officially adopted by the federal government in 1975 for use in the military and government agencies.[20] In 1985, the metric system was made the preferred (but predominantly voluntary) system of weights and measures for United States trade and commerce (see Metrication in the United States). It has remained voluntary for federal and state road signage to use metric units, despite attempts in the 1990s to make it a requirement.[21] A 1992 amendment to the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, which took effect in 1994, required labels on "consumer commodities"[22] to include both metric and U.S. customary units. Likewise, Canada also legally allows for dual labeling of goods provided that the metric unit is listed first and that there is a distinction of whether a liquid measure is a U.S. or a Canadian (Imperial) unit.[23] Most states have passed laws permitting metric-only labels.[24] Regardless, the American public and much of the private business and industry use U.S. customary units.[25] At least two states, Kentucky and California, have even moved towards demetrication of highway construction projects.[26][27][28] Image File history File links Measuring_cup. ... Image File history File links Measuring_cup. ... The International Bureau of Weights and Measures is the English name of the Bureau international des poids et mesures (BIPM, often written in English Bureau International des Poids et Mesures), a standards organisation, one of the three organizations established to maintain the International System of Units (SI) under the terms... This label, on a bottle of Head & Shoulders shampoo, illustrates the conflicted state of U.S. metrication in the early 21st century. ... The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act is a US law that applies to labels on many consumer products. ... Look up si, Si, SI in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... U.S. customary units, commonly known in the United States as English units or standard units, are units of measurement that are currently used in the U.S., in some cases alongside units from SI (the International System of Units—the modern metric system). ...

See also: Metrication in the United States
See also: Metrication in the United Kingdom

This label, on a bottle of Head & Shoulders shampoo, illustrates the conflicted state of U.S. metrication in the early 21st century. ... Metrication is the process of introduction of metric units for measurement. ...

Air and sea transport

Some industries have resisted metrication. Non-metric measures in air and sea transport retain worldwide dominance. In these areas the nautical mile is still widespread. This may be because various historical versions of the nautical mile were originally designed to represent a minute of arc of on the surface of the Earth at certain points (the definition in use today is standardised as 1852 metres exactly). While the metre was also based on the Earth with 100 km equal to an arc of 1 grad, those units of angle have not seen widespread use, though they do appear on some maps. A nautical mile or sea mile is a unit of length. ... The grad is a measurement of plane angles of value 1/400 of a full circle, thus dividing a right angle in 100. ...


The knot, nautical miles per hour, remains the prime unit of speed for maritime and air navigation. (However, before the 1960s, statute miles per hour—which bear no relationship to the Earth—was most often used for this purpose, and remained in fairly common use for some purposes into the 1970s and later.) For aviation, altitudes are usually estimated based on air pressure values and described in nominal feet rather than nominal metres. However, several countries and air forces (mainly but not only former Warsaw Pact) use metres for altitude. Thus an individual pilot can sometimes operate with altitudes in metres and sometimes in feet. The policies of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) relating to measurement are: A knot is a non SI unit of speed equal to one nautical mile per hour. ... Miles per hour is a unit of speed, expressing the number of international miles covered per hour. ... Unofficial Seal of the Warsaw Pact Distinguish from the Warsaw Convention, which is an agreement about airlines financial liability and the Treaty of Warsaw (1970) between West Germany and the Peoples Republic of Poland. ... The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an agency of the United Nations, codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth. ...

  • there should be a single system of units throughout the world
  • the single system should be SI
  • the use of the foot for altitude is a permitted variation

Consistent with ICAO policy, aviation has undergone a lot of metrication over the years. For example, the United Kingdom and Ireland metricated runway length and many other measures several decades ago. The United States metricated temperature reports in 1996 and the US military has metricated some reports of visual range. Metrication is also gradually taking place in cargo weights/dimensions and fuel volume/weight.


Accidents and incidents

Confusion over units during the process of metrication can sometimes lead to accidents. One of the most famous examples is the Gimli Glider, a Boeing 767 that ran out of fuel in Canada in 1983 due, in large part, to confusion at Air Canada during Canada's metrication.[29] Gimli Glider is a nickname given to an aircraft involved in an infamous incident in aviation history. ... American Airlines Boeing 767-300 at Gatwick Airport, England. ... Air Canada is Canadas largest airline and flag carrier. ...


While not strictly an example of national metrication, the use of two different systems was the contributing factor in the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter in 1998. NASA specified metric units in the contract. NASA and other organisations worked in metric units but one subcontractor, Lockheed Martin, provided thruster performance data to the team in pound force seconds instead of newton seconds. The spacecraft was intended to orbit Mars at about 150 km altitude but the incorrect data meant that it descended to about 57 km and probably burned up in the Martian atmosphere. Mars Climate Orbiter during tests The Mars Climate Orbiter (formerly the Mars Surveyor 98 Orbiter) was one of two spacecraft in the Mars Surveyor 98 program, the other being the Mars Polar Lander (formerly the Mars Surveyor 98 Lander). ... The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an agency of the United States government, responsible for the nations public space program. ... Lockheed/BAE/Northrop F-35 Lockheed Trident missile C-130 Hercules; in production since the 1950s, now as the C-130J Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is an aerospace manufacturer formed in 1995 by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta. ... A pound-force (abbreviations: lbf or lbf) is a unit of force. ... The newton (symbol: N) is the SI unit of force. ... Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the solar system, named after the Roman god of war (the counterpart of the Greek Ares), on account of its blood red color as viewed in the night sky. ...


Opposition

Main article: Metrication arguments and counter-arguments

Interestingly, considering it was the birthplace of the metric system, France experienced a particularly rough journey to metrication. The traditional French measuring system was chaotic, with size of units differing in each small town, and often even within towns. Lyon had two different values of pound in general use, one of 14 ounces, and another of 15 ounces, the latter only being used for measuring silk. The revolutionary government, which saw the newly conceived metric system (commissioned by the previous king) as a good fit for its ideology of "pure reason", first attempted a quick conversion, legalising metric units in 1795 and, just four years later, banning the use of traditional units. Massive popular opposition led Napoleon, after he came to power, to roll back these reforms. He publicly denounced the previous government for "tormenting people with trifles". It appears that it was decimalisation that disturbed the people most — as, although Napoleon decreed that there should be "such fractions and multiples as were generally used", he redefined the old base units in metric terms. The original metric system was made law again in France in 1837.[4] Some people oppose metrication in favor of a different, customary system of measurement, typically the American or the similar Imperial one. ... City flag City coat of arms Motto: (Franco-Provençal: Forward, forward, Lyon the best) Location Coordinates Time Zone CET (GMT +1) Administration Country Region Rhône-Alpes Department Rhône (69) Subdivisions 9 arrondissements Intercommunality Urban Community of Lyon Mayor Gérard Collomb  (PS) (since 2001) City Statistics Land... Silk dresses Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. ... For other uses, see Napoleon (disambiguation). ...


Japan also saw popular resistance to its 1920s metrication program, where opponents of the metric system believed that the adoption of a foreign measuring system would have a bad influence on national sentiment, cause dislocations in public life and needless expense to the nation, prove disadvantageous to foreign trade, and hurt the national language and culture. In 1933, the government postponed the date of the first stage of conversion by five years, and the date of the second stage by ten years. The U.S. occupation resulted in a temporary conversion to U.S. customary units. The post-war manufacturing boom required an international standard measurement system and the issue was pursued again in the 1950s and 1960s. The process was not completed until 1969. Traditional units are, however, still used for measurements of sake and the area of land and apartments. Nevertheless, local units had been defined in terms of metric units (e.g., 1 shaku = 10/33 metre) as early as 1891. For the measurement of sake, 10 Japanese cups (180 millilitres each) equal 1 shoh (traditional flask size of 1.8 litre capacity). Rice cookers are typically sold as having capacities such as 5 cups or 10 cups. (Note that the traditional Japanese cup is 180 millilitres while the American cup is 237 millilitres.[30] ) Capital Tokyo Language(s) Japanese Political structure Military occupation Military Governor of Japan  - 1945-1951 Douglas MacArthur  - 1951-1952 Matthew Ridgway Emperor  - 1926-1989 Hirohito Historical era Post-WWII  - Surrender of Japan August 15, 1945  - San Francisco Peace Treaty April 28, 1952 At the end of the Second World War... U.S. customary units, commonly known in the United States as English units or standard units, are units of measurement that are currently used in the U.S., in some cases alongside units from SI (the International System of Units—the modern metric system). ... History of Japan Paleolithic Jomon Yayoi Yamato period ---Kofun period ---Asuka period Nara period Heian period Kamakura period Muromachi period Azuchi-Momoyama period ---Nanban period Edo period Meiji period Taisho period Showa period ---Japanese expansionism ---Occupied Japan ---Post-Occupation Japan Heisei Following the end of the Allied occupation in 1952... Sake barrels at Itsukushima Shrine. ...


Overall, few countries have experienced much popular opposition to metrication. Some, such as 19th century European countries, Russia, India and China, converted before most of their populations were literate, so the initial conversion affected few people. For others, such as Ireland, the previous system (ie. imperial) was seen as foreign.[4] World map showing the location of Europe. ...


See also

Conversion of units refers to conversion factors between different units of measurement for the same quantity. ... Clothes-size label with EN 13402-1 pictogram and body dimensions in centimetres (found on a high-visibility jacket sold in the United Kingdom). ... In industrial design, product developers must choose numerous lengths, distances, diameters, volumes, and other characteristic quantities. ... A metric yardstick is a rough rule of thumb for comprehending a metric unit in terms of everyday life in the United States. ... Language reform is a kind of language planning by massive change to a language. ... This label, on a bottle of Head & Shoulders shampoo, illustrates the conflicted state of U.S. metrication in the early 21st century. ... Metrication is the process of introduction of metric units for measurement. ... The introduction of the metric system has faced popular opposition in a number of countries over the past two hundred years. ... The Plan for Establishing Uniformity in the Coinage, Weights, and Measures of the United States was a report submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives on July 13, 1790 by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. ...

Notes

  1. ^ a b c The World Factbook (2007-01-17). Washington: Central Intelligence Agency. Appendix G. Retrieved 2007-02-04 from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/appendix/appendix-g.html
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ a b c McGreevy, Thomas (1995). The Basis of Measurement: Historical Aspects. Picton Publishing (Chippenham Ltd). ISBN 0-948251-82-4. 
  5. ^ Witold Kula, "Measures and Men", Chapter 24:"For all peoples; for all time"
  6. ^ O'Connor, J. J. & Robertson, E. F. (2005). "Decimal time and angles". MacTutor History of Mathematics archive. Fife, Scotland: St. Andrews University. Retrieved from http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/HistTopics/Decimal_time.html on 2006-08-01.
  7. ^ Traders' joy as Europe says imperial can stay. Retrieved on 2007-05-14.
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ Use of Traditional Measuring Units to Be Fined - Korea Times, 10-22-2006 20:06
  10. ^ Caribbean Net News, (17 March 2005). St Lucia moving to metric system. Retrieved 27 August 2006.
  11. ^ Department of Trade and Industry, United Kingdom (15 July 1862). Report (1862) from the Select Committee on Weights and Measures.
  12. ^ Metric Timeline. UK metric association. Retrieved on 27 August 2006.
  13. ^ Humble, Jim. Historical perspectives by the last Director of the UK Metrication Board. UK metric association. Retrieved on 27 August 2006.
  14. ^ United Kingdom (1995). The Units of Measurement Regulations 1995. Statutory Instrument 1995 No. 1804. ISBN 0-11-053334-8. (see Section 5(2) for exceptions.)
  15. ^ British Weights and Measures Association. Consumer Affairs Retrieved on 27 August 2006.
  16. ^ British Weights and Measures Association. The Great Metric Rip-Off Retrieved on 27 August 2006.
  17. ^ U.S. Metric Association. Metric usage and metrication in other countries. Retrieved on 27 August 2006.
  18. ^ U.S. Metric Association. Metric Act of 1866. Retrieved on 27 August 2006.
  19. ^ U.S. Metric Association. Metric Convention of 1875. Retrieved on 27 August 2006.
  20. ^ U.S. Metric Association. Metric Conversion Act of 1975. Retrieved on 27 August 2006.
  21. ^ U.S. Metric Association. National Highway System Designation Act of 1995. Retrieved on 27 August 2006.
  22. ^ U.S. Metric Association. Sec. 1459. Definitions Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. Retrieved on 27 August 2006.
  23. ^ Chapter 2 - Basic Labelling Requirements (English (also available in French)). Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Retrieved on 2007-05-16.
  24. ^ Metric Methods, The rapid progress of adoption of permissible metric-only labeling at the state level. Retrieved on 27 August 2006.
  25. ^ Zengerle, Jason (January/February 1999). Waits and Measures. Mother Jones.
  26. ^ Commonwealth of Kentucky (1998). Metric to English Conversion.
  27. ^ State of California, Department of Transportation (2004). Metric to U.S. Customary Units (English) Transition.
  28. ^ [4]
  29. ^ Merran Williams, (July-August 2003), "The 156-tonne GIMLI GLIDER", in Flight Safety Australia, p. 22, 25, available at http://www.casa.gov.au/fsa/2003/jul/22-27.pdf
  30. ^ Conversion for US cup can be found in NIST (1995) Guide to SI Units Appendix B8

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 17th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 35th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... May 14 is the 134th day of the year (135th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Categories: Stub | English-language newspapers | South Korean newspapers ... is the 76th day of the year (77th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 239th day of the year (240th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 196th day of the year (197th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1862 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... is the 239th day of the year (240th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 239th day of the year (240th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 239th day of the year (240th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 239th day of the year (240th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 239th day of the year (240th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 239th day of the year (240th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 239th day of the year (240th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 239th day of the year (240th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 239th day of the year (240th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 239th day of the year (240th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... May 16 is the 136th day of the year (137th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 239th day of the year (240th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... As a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce’s Technology Administration, the National Institute of Standards (NIST) develops and promotes measurement, standards, and technology to enhance productivity, facilitate trade, and improve the quality of life. ...

External links

Websites supporting metrication:

  • Metrication.US! Metrication revolution site - metric push
  • Go Metric! Metrication action site
  • Go Metric America
  • U.S. Metric Association
  • The Metrication Board of Ireland
  • The United Kingdom Metric Association campaigns for a total metric switchover in the UK
  • Timeline of metric system in UK
  • Metrication matters provides resources to support your metrication program.
  • One Metre: Metric in Canada
  • Canadian Metric Association

Books supporting metrication:

  • Metric Signs Ahead (UKMA) (2005) by Robin Paice (ISBN 0955235123)
  • A Very British Mess (UKMA) (2004) by Robin Paice (ISBN 0750310146)

Websites opposing metrication:

  • British Weights and Measures Association

Books opposing metrication:

  • The General Rule by Vivian Linacre (ISBN 1906069018)
  • About the Size of It by Warwick Cairns (ISBN 0230016286)


Metrication by country
Australia | Canada | India | Ireland | Jamaica | New Zealand | Singapore | South Africa | United Kingdom | United States | Zambia


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