Metric Views has come across a personal view on the use of the metric system in Germany that may surprise some of our readers.
Ken Alder, in his book,”The measure of all things”, has this to say about the adoption of the metric system in Germany:
“… in 1868 the German Zollverein – the Prussian-led customs union that laid the groundwork for German unification – agreed to require the metric system as of 1 January 1872.
“The metric system appealed to the various German states for the same reason that it appealed to the Italians: … (it) was acceptable because it favoured no one. … In 1861, when Austria (Prussia’s rival) conferred with the industrialized states of western Germany on common weights and measures, the Prussians refused to join in the discussions. But by 1867, when Prussia had won the upper hand against Austria, it could behave more magnanimously. Prussia agreed not to impose its own measures and instead adopt the metric system as a natural, neutral standard sanctioned by science.”
As always, politics trumped rational argument.
Now, almost 150 years on, a German blogger, Adrian Sieber, gives us a startling view of the current use of measurement systems in his home country:
Every country in the world is metric to some degree, even the USA. Some would also say that no country is entirely metric, and Sieber’s article lends support to this suggestion. Perhaps we in the UK should be not too demoralized by the slow progress of our transition, even though the disgraceful ducking and weaving over the past 44 years by the UK Department for Transport and successive Transport Ministers still defies rational explanation.