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Imperial v Metric Measures

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DMB08/04/2022 21:45:56
1312 forum posts
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My latest order, one of many, list as long as your arm, from a certain ME supplier. His label on the bottle of cutting oil reads "500ml", which I'm willing to believe. But! His label is stuck on top of his oil supplier's and peeping out, just below his label, is a measurement of quantity from his supplier: "1.056 quarts"Oh really? So his supplier thinks more than 2 pints = 500ml(1/2 a Litre)! Whoever Rockoil employ obviously didn't go to my school who taught me that a Quart is 2 Pints! My supplier's halo not slipped but his has.

Much like a very nice one - off( not part of a set) favourite saucepan in the kitchen from a well known chain of small shops. Yet again the retailer is innocent, it's his supplier employing staff who are probably too young to have been taught these measurements. Inside has a ladder type scale marked, 0.5L, 1.0L,1.5L, 2.0L on the left and to the right, trailing slightly lower, 0.50QT, 1.0QT, 1.5QT and finally, 2.0QT. This had me foxed for ages until the confused lightbulb suddenly lit up! QT means quarts but again, 0.5L is approximately a pint and 2.0L is 3.52 Pints, not slightly more than 2 Quarts!

These quaint medieval measures should have been scrapped long ago. I frequently walk to a M&S shop for their milk as it tastes better than similar from the Sainsbury's opposite them. Asda and Tesco's similar (semi skimmed) also on a level with Sainsbury's. I reckon it's down to "food mileage". What else? It's marked as 2 Pints and 1.036L, suggesting that they're supplier is using Imperial. Some of the others' bottles are marked 1L and the equivalent in pints, so they're different supplier(s) are using metric.

What a mess to put it politely.

On my walk to M&S, I walk under a railway arch, Brighton" East Coastway " to Lewes, Eastbourne, etc. Arch has enamel plate stating number of Chains, presumably from main Brighton Station. Why Chains? Someone in railway infrastructure management wants throttling with one! About time they joined the 21st Century and used Metres.

BTW, I've been left school a little while now - 70+ 'old codger' but I can easily cope with changes. Just wish overpaid people for whom we voted, would make decisions.

DMB08/04/2022 21:54:43
1312 forum posts
1 photos

Just as crazy, new car, 17ft long is described as being 5181.6mm. I can more or less visualise 17ft but not that ridiculous quantity of mm.

About the limit in mm is 600, generally used to describe the depth of kitchen worktops. Why not 60cm?

I would have thought that metres would be best size unit for a car's length and perhaps, call me 178cm, not 1.78m tall.

Edited By DMB on 08/04/2022 21:58:24

Clive Hartland08/04/2022 22:10:09
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2820 forum posts
40 photos

European countries use different methods of describing metric lengths, in the UK we don't use cm. but measure as say 1.50mtrs or 1500mm.

having worked in a Swiss company one had to be bi metric/Imperial minded. So your height is 1.78 mtrs.

Buy some wood, its meters length but mm cross section.

Nicholas Wheeler 108/04/2022 22:27:28
930 forum posts
87 photos
Posted by DMB on 08/04/2022 21:45:56:

My latest order, one of many, list as long as your arm, from a certain ME supplier. His label on the bottle of cutting oil reads "500ml", which I'm willing to believe. But! His label is stuck on top of his oil supplier's and peeping out, just below his label, is a measurement of quantity from his supplier: "1.056 quarts"Oh really? So his supplier thinks more than 2 pints = 500ml(1/2 a Litre)! Whoever Rockoil employ obviously didn't go to my school who taught me that a Quart is 2 Pints! My supplier's halo not slipped but his has.

 

You do know that Rockoil is American? And that a US pint is only 16 fluid ounces? Which means that one US pint is 0.474ml. 

 

Does it make sense now?

 

Although using metric is far more sensible.

Edited By Nicholas Wheeler 1 on 08/04/2022 22:34:02

Edited By Nicholas Wheeler 1 on 08/04/2022 22:34:27

Frank Gorse08/04/2022 22:30:09
83 forum posts

The US quart is 0.95 litres so that may account for the measurements in the saucepan. But,yes,it’s all a mess.
Perhaps the railway plate dates back to the days when we were all taught things like chains?

(Sent before I’d seen Nicholas’s post,above)

Edited By Frank Gorse on 08/04/2022 22:40:09

Nigel Graham 208/04/2022 23:30:09
2140 forum posts
29 photos

Network Rail does still use miles, chains and yards, judging by new-looking plates on bridges and level-crossings; and its speed-limit signs are in mph.

Apart from the Chain, the other units are compatible with British road practice in which the Statute Mile and Yard, and the Mile Per Hour, are the only legal units.

The cm is not a "Preferred Unit" - as engineers we all know it should be metres and millimetres except in a few specific applications. Why? 'Cos the ISO says so. Though I don't condone it - mathematical neatness does not always make for day-to-day practicality.

Nevertheless, quoting a car's length in mm is a foolish misuse of the system - and so is quoting its load space in litres and its engine power in some oddity called "PS" .

And Conversely, Clive's timber is correct in being sold as metre lengths of a X b millimetre section.

However, a length of 6mm-labelled mild-steel I bought recently is actually 1/4-inch dia. Serves me right for using B&Q! In fact it did not matter for the purpose.

'

I had to use the SI system at work but that was in Acoustics where the Pascal unit of pressure is reasonable, sort of, although uselessly small for tyres and boilers. Actually it's uselessly big for Acoustics: the linear scale for sound starts with the micro-Pascal (though converted to the deciBel, based on logarithms of ratios.) The quietest sound pressure-level we can hear - or could before our rock-concert and discotheque days? 0dB re[ferred to] 20µPa; i.e. a mere 20µPa. That is just one five-thousand-millionth of atmospheric pressure... giving whispered sweet-nothings barely audible in the boudoir, a rather awe-inspiring context.

In marine work 0dB is set at just 1 lonely little micro-Pascal; and the electrical sensitivity of a hydrophone to sound pressure is in so-many dB re 1 volt / microPascal. A right tangle if you re-write that it in full, in its SI fundamental units!

'

I am sort of used to both systems, but slip between them for convenience at times.

For example, although my steam-wagon project is to approximate 4-inch scale of its English-made original, I am using millimetres to make the ash-pan parts to overall 7.25 inch width. Why? It's fabricated from 20x20x3mm angle, 1mm sheet-steel foldings and metric screws; designed mainly "on the job"; made mainly by hand tools and bench-drill; and marking-out in mm is simpler than in bits of inches. (I still make mistakes and revisions though!)

Colin Whittaker09/04/2022 01:53:55
142 forum posts
17 photos

I went to my local wood shop in Phuket Thailand.

I'd like some 2cm thick planks says I. She pulls out a ruler squints and says OK 3/4 of an inch.

Right thinks I that makes my 20cm wide plank 6 inches. By 6 inches wide says I.

Out with the ruler again and she says that's 20cm.

I give her a funny look and say 2.5m long? Success!

It's a weird mish mash of length units out here. But the hard wood is very cheap and very pretty when stained/varnished.

Colin

PatJ09/04/2022 03:22:51
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373 forum posts
427 photos

I work in the design/building industry in the States, and everything is feet and inches, although some components are designed and measured in metric, such as 3D modeled equipment.

Generally if metric is on the drawings, it is in inches/metric.

I had a question about the power line right of way extending over too close to a new building being constructed.

I measured from the power line pole to the building, and it was 40'-4".

Everyone knows what 40 feet is, and everyone knows how wide a 10' wide easment is.

Nobody would ever say "That building is 7,680 1/8ths of an inch off of that power pole.

Nobody would know what the heck that represents.

Breaking down the units into an impossbily small unit such as the mm is counterproductive in the construction world.

I am working on a lagoon that is 2,300 feet long.

Again, nobody would have any idea how big that is in metric.

Feet and inches is very convenient, usable, functional, and immediately understood any anyone in the building industry.

The metric-pushers don't have to build buildings and stuff is my guess, else they would revolt.

.

FMES09/04/2022 04:19:24
608 forum posts
2 photos
Posted by Colin Whittaker on 09/04/2022 01:53:55:

I went to my local wood shop in Phuket Thailand.

I'd like some 2cm thick planks says I. She pulls out a ruler squints and says OK 3/4 of an inch.

Right thinks I that makes my 20cm wide plank 6 inches. By 6 inches wide says I.

Out with the ruler again and she says that's 20cm.

I give her a funny look and say 2.5m long? Success!

It's a weird mish mash of length units out here. But the hard wood is very cheap and very pretty when stained/varnished.

Colin

20cm is 6inches?

My ruler must be well out.

Colin Whittaker09/04/2022 04:22:35
142 forum posts
17 photos

sorry 20cm is 8" give or take, I asked for 8 inches.

Edited By Colin Whittaker on 09/04/2022 04:23:54

Martin Connelly09/04/2022 07:57:33
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2137 forum posts
222 photos

PatJ, having worked in engineering all my working life I am used to working with metric and imperial measurements. I had to convert 40'-4" into metres in my head to visualise it. 40' is 12m (more or less) as there are 40" to the metre (more or less) and then 4" is 100mm or 0.1m. So you are talking about 12.1m. This is what the majority of the world will do as the idea that "Everyone knows what 40 feet is" is clearly wrong and very USAcentric.

Martin C

Michael Gilligan09/04/2022 08:06:36
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20200 forum posts
1053 photos
Posted by DMB on 08/04/2022 21:54:43:

[…]

About the limit in mm is 600, generally used to describe the depth of kitchen worktops. Why not 60cm?

.

Simply because the system does not include ‘centi’

The cm is only a ‘customary unit’ … it is now deprecated

MichaelG.

.

https://www.nist.gov/pml/weights-and-measures/metric-si/si-units

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centimetre

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 09/04/2022 08:15:16

Gerard O'Toole09/04/2022 08:22:24
138 forum posts
10 photos
Posted by PatJ on 09/04/2022 03:22:51:

I ...

Everyone knows what 40 feet is, and everyone knows how wide a 10' wide easment is.

Nobody would ever say "That building is 7,680 1/8ths of an inch off of that power pole.

Nobody would know what the heck that represents.

Breaking down the units into an impossbily small unit such as the mm is counterproductive in the construction world.

I am working on a lagoon that is 2,300 feet long.

Again, nobody would have any idea how big that is in metric.

Feet and inches is very convenient, usable, functional, and immediately understood any anyone in the building industry.

The metric-pushers don't have to build buildings and stuff is my guess, else they would revolt.

.

Yes, If only we Europeans could get rid of the metric system we too could have buildings and roads.

Andrew Tinsley09/04/2022 08:58:12
1630 forum posts

Can't work out what the fuss is about, as far as units are concerned, I am ambidextrous,

Andrew.

Les Jones 109/04/2022 09:11:16
2257 forum posts
156 photos

USB power banks always seem to be rated in mAH. So a 10000 mAH one is really 10 AH.Will the marketing people start to rate them in uAH to make them look bigger. So a 10 AH one would then be called 10000000 uAH.
I remember when metrification first came in I went to by some 6 foot lengths of 2" x 1" I said I want some 6 foot lengths of 2 x 1 but I assume now that will 2 metre lengths of 50 x 25 mm. I was told that they still sold it by the foot.

Les.

Nicholas Wheeler 109/04/2022 09:36:54
930 forum posts
87 photos
Posted by Andrew Tinsley on 09/04/2022 08:58:12:

Can't work out what the fuss is about, as far as units are concerned, I am ambidextrous,

Andrew.

Yeah, that.

Once again, we have the ridiculous idea that feet and inches are somehow natural and intuitive, whereas mm and metres aren't. Our brains aren't naturally tuned to recognise 17feet, they're trained to do that. Whereas anyone who grew up with metric is just as capable of visualising 5171mm or 5.2metres. For the same reason.

Use them enough and you'll be able to do that with both systems, simultaneously

Martin Connelly09/04/2022 09:44:02
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2137 forum posts
222 photos

Missed this one.

I am working on a lagoon that is 2,300 feet long. Again, nobody would have any idea how big that is in metric.

Well 10 feet is about 3m so 2,300 is about 3x230m = 690m. The correct statement is a lot of people in the USA will have no idea how big 690m is.

Martin C

Swarf, Mostly!09/04/2022 09:44:39
668 forum posts
73 photos

This may be slightly off-topic:

I happened to look at the rating plate on one of my frownHi-Fi loudspeakers the other day. It claimed that the speaker was rated at 120 Watts of 'music power'.

Are 'music power' Watts metric or Imperial?????

Best regards,

Swarf, Mostly!

Sandgrounder09/04/2022 09:56:39
243 forum posts
6 photos

Also slightly off-topic

The shop I used to buy hardware fittings from would sell you a 'pair of hinges' if you wanted 2 and 'one and a half pair' if you wanted 3, I don't know if that was a normal ironmongers expression or not.

John

Michael Gilligan09/04/2022 10:02:18
avatar
20200 forum posts
1053 photos
Posted by Swarf, Mostly! on 09/04/2022 09:44:39:

.

Are 'music power' Watts metric or Imperial?????

.

.

’music power’ is based on the assumed peak-to-rms ratio

MichaelG.

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