Changing standards and definitions, including several best forgotten

After the controversy of recent weeks with bashed bridges, furlongs and novel signs, we turn to something deadly dull – the definitions of length, mass (or weight) and capacity (or volume) and their relationships.

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Whitworth’s forgotten legacy

Whitworth is famous for the eponymous screw thread, and for his promotion of standard measures and interchangeability that brought about an engineering revolution. Less well known are his enthusiasm for decimal measurement and his opposition to the introduction of the metric system in Britain.

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