Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Metric System

America is the last holdout. Here is an article which claims that King Louis XVI was behind the metric system.
It was the last French monarch, Louis XVI, who led a convention of experts to develop what would become an international system of measurement based on the number 10.

And who ended with an 11th digit – his head – resting upon a revolutionary guillotine.


Enbrethiliel said...


I'm ambivalent towards the metric system. On the one hand, I see how much more practical it is. On the other hand, I just find it easier to visualise inches and feet.

(I wonder if that's because I learned American English. Perhaps for those proficient in British English or French are befuddled by inches and feet and totally at home with metres.)

Stealth Jew said...

People of my generation were taught only the metric system in school. Nonetheless, they cook, measure, and speak in Imperial. Only kilometers and centigrade have caught on at all.

I think this is because Imperial is not an invented system, but rather based in real life. Inches, feet, and so on are very useful measurements. A person who is four-foot-anything is short, and a six foot tall person is tall. All people -- short, tall, and in-between -- are a metre-and-some. A batch of bread is a pound of flour, and I couldn't even tell you what it is in metric. "My baby is seven pounds" is much easier to remember than "My baby is 3050 grams."

elena maria vidal said...

Interesting, E.

Yes,S.J., the Imperial system is totally organic and based on real life. I hope we never have the metric system here......

tubbs said...

What would benefit our nation?
Remember that some Protestant nations refused to use the modern calendar simply because it was, in their eyes, a papist invention.

Enbrethiliel said...


Regarding what would be more beneficial, I remember a contractor telling me that engineers prefer the metric system because the "tens" are so much neater for those whose work is heavy on the theory, but that he as a contractor likes the imperial system because it helps to be able to divide by twos, by threes, by fours, and by sixes when your work is actually something you can touch with your hands.

P. M. Doolan said...

The writer refers to Louis XVI as being the last French monarch, clearly an error.

lara77 said...

Of course the French Republicans would not want to read of any further evidence that would show how intelligent and articulate King Louis XVI actually was; republican propaganda must remain "impenetrable" to the truth!

xavier said...

Maria Elena:

What I like about the metric is that it's based on base 10 and not base 12. I find it very difficult to calculate 16th of an inch.
Also, I dislike the inconsistencies between the Imperial and the U.S. gallon and the mile

However, the Imperial system is good for cooking. It's better than metric. But for everything else,. I prefer metric.

One last word, it was Louis XVI who comissioned the reform of the weights and measures, if the French revolution hadn't happened, I'm pretty sure that the world would<ve happily adopted it and even incorporated traditional measure and weight names under metric