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There's old and then again

There's very old ! At the moment I'm reading one of the books that I bought in Ironbridge the other week and I'm finding it very interesting.
Its called Ask the Fellows who Cut the Hay by George Ewart Evans. In it, he reproduces  a table from a school arithmetic book dating back to 1767. I certainly learned something new from it. Have a look at this.

3 barley corns make one inch
4 inches make one hand.
3 hands make a foot.
3 feet make a yard
6 feet make a fathom
5 and a half yards make one rod, pole or perch
40 poles make one furlong
8 furlongs in a mile.
3 miles make a league
60 miles make one degree.

Old weights and measures are fascinating, especially when you work out their roots

When the UK went metric, schoolchildren suddenly had twice as much time at school to learn other stuff. It made an enormous difference to the breadth of their knowledge.

On t'other hand their mental arithmatic is cr*p!


I'd not heard about the barley corns making an inch.

I Scotland King David had it defined as the width of a man's thumb at the base of the nail….then there's a discourse on defining a small, midling or large thumb!

Interesting little read here.


What I find odd in these times of metrification is that Television screens are still measured in inches   if it's a matter of size, ( biggest is best ), then you would have thought they would be in MM or CM?



Shoe sizes come from barleycorns.
IIRC, the sizes work from 12 inches being a size 12, then reduce by one barleycorn for each size.


Tyres/wheels here are still in inches 13,14, well as tv sizes

Some really interesting stuff on this thread , superb!

5 out of ten for me.

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