Ronnie Cohen looks at the measurement muddle in the British Isles during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. As our nearest neighbours on the Continent might say, ‘Plus ca change, toujours la meme chose’.
On EU product labels, metric units are mandatory whereas non-metric units are optional. On US product labels, both metric and US customary (USC) units are mandatory for most products. So a company that wants to sell a product in the EU and the US must use metric and USC on the label unless it produces separate labels for the two markets.
When consulting a reference book from 1896, we came across an article about imperial measures which provides a timely reminder that, even in its heyday, this ‘system’ was not as straightforward as some would now have us believe.