Open main menu

Wikipedia β

List of obsolete units of measurement

This is a list of obsolete units of measurement, sorted by type. These units of measurement are typically no longer used, though some may be in limited use in various regions.



Energy, etc.Edit



A Hefner lamp (German: Hefnerkerze)
  • Candlepower – an obsolete unit expressing luminous intensity equal to 0.981 candela, it expresses levels of light intensity in terms of the light emitted by a candle of specific size and constituents. In modern usage candlepower equates directly to the unit known as the candela.
  • Carcel burner – an efficient lighting device used in the nineteenth century for domestic purposes and in France as the standard measure for illumination
  • Carcel
  • Hefner candle
  • Violle

Mass or weightEdit

Volume (dry and liquid)Edit

These are glass milk bottles from 1950s Quebec. The large bottle is a pinte (quart), the middle size a chopine (pint) and the small size a demiard (½-pint).[6] The latter was used for cream.
  • Acetabulum
  • Adowlie
  • Amphora
  • Aum
  • Belshazzar (unit)
  • Botella − The Spanish for "bottle", which has been given various standard capacities at different times and places, and for different fluids contained.[7] Often-cited figures include 0.95 liters in Cuba (1796), 0.75 liters in Cuba (1862) and 0.7 liters in Colombia (1957).[8]
  • Bucket
  • Butt
  • Chungah
  • Congius
  • Coomb
  • Cord-foot – a US unit of volume for stacked firewood with the symbol cd-ft equal to 16 cu ft (0.45 m3)[2]:52
  • Cotyla
  • Cran
  • Cullishigay
  • Deal – a former U.K. and U.S. unit of volume for stacked firewood.[2] A U.K. deal equaled 7 ft × 6 ft × 5/2 in., while a U.S. deal equaled 12 ft × 11 in × 3/2 in.[2]
  • Demiard - an old French unit of volume. When France metricated, the demiard survived in French-speaking areas of North America. The demiard and other units eventually became associated with Anglo-Saxon rather than French units (in Quebec for example, the demiard is defined as a half-pint).[2]:34 See the article on the demiard for details.
  • Firlot
  • Hekat
  • Homer
  • House cord – a former U.S. unit of volume for stacked firewood[2]
  • Kile
  • Koku
  • Lambda – an uncommon metric unit of volume discontinued with the introduction of the SI
  • London quarter
  • Lump of butter – used in the United States, up to and possibly after of the American Revolution. It equaled "one well rounded tablespoon".[9]
  • Masu
  • Metretes
  • Octave
  • Omer
  • Pau
  • Peck – the name of two different units of volume, one imperial and one U.S. Both equaled about 9 litres.
  • Puddee
  • Salt spoon – used in the United States, up to and possibly after of the American Revolution. Four salt spoons equaled one teaspoon.[9]
  • Seah
  • Ser
  • Shipping ton – a unit of volume defined as 100 cu ft (2.8 m3)
  • Stuck
  • Wineglass – used in the United States, up to and possibly after of the American Revolution. One wineglass equaled 1/4 cup.[9]


  • Apothecaries' system
  • Atom (time) – a hypothetical unit of time used in the Middle Ages
  • Bahar – a unit of length in Iran, and was a unit of mass in Oman
  • Batman – mostly a unit of mass, but sometimes a unit of area
  • Demal – unit of concentration
  • Dimi (metric prefix) – a discontinued non-SI metric prefix for 10−4[2]
  • Fanega – a unit of dry volume, and a unit of area
  • Fresnel – a unit of frequency
  • Garce – a unit of dry volume in India, and a unit of mass in Sri Lanka
  • Hobbit – a unit of volume, or, more rarely, of weight
  • Kula – a unit of area in India, and mass in Morocco
  • Last – a unit of mass or volume
  • League – usually a unit of length, but sometimes a unit of area
  • Leiden scale
  • Mache
  • Mesures usuelles
  • Newton scale – a temperature scale devised by Isaac Newton in 1701.[10][11][12]
  • Perch – most commonly a unit of area, but sometimes a unit of length or volume
  • Pièze – a unit of pressure
  • Rood – a unit of area or length
  • Sack – originally a medieval unit of mass, equal to 26 stone (364 pounds, or about 165 kg). Since a unit of dry volume, equal to 24 imperial gallons (about 109 liters).
  • Schoenus – a unit of area or length
  • Scrupulum – a unit of area, mass, or time
  • Seam – a unit of mass or volume
  • Seer – a unit of mass or volume
  • Toise – a unit of area, length, or volume
  • Tub – usually a unit of mass, but sometimes a unit of volume
  • Uncia – an ancient Roman unit of length, mass, or volume
  • Wey – a unit of mass or volume
  • Winchester measure – a system of volume measurement

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Herlihy, David (2009). Medieval Households. Harvard University Press. p. 69. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Cardarelli, François (2003). Encyclopaedia of Scientific Units, Weights and Measures. Their SI Equivalences and Origins. London: Springer. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-4471-1122-1. 
  3. ^ a b Gilbert, E.W.; Beckinsale, R.P. (1944). Spain & Portugal: Spain. Its Geographical handbook series. Naval Intelligence Division. 
  4. ^ Hoong, Tho Lai; Yi, Tho Mun. Interactive Science For Inquiring Minds Volume A. Panpac Education Pte Ltd. p. 33. ISBN 9812716181. 
  5. ^ Kisch, Bruno (1965). Scales and Weights. Original from the University of California: Yale University Press. p. 237. 
  6. ^ Trudel, Marcel, Introduction to New France, p. 222 
  7. ^ lists figures for bottles in Bolivia from 460 ml to 1 liter.
  8. ^ McCusker, John (2005). Essays in the Economic History of the Atlantic World. Routledge. p. 63. ISBN 1134703406. 
  9. ^ a b c Pelton, Robert W.; Pelton, W. Pelton (2004). Baking Recipes of Our Founding Fathers. Infinity Publishing. pp. 263–264. ISBN 0741419440. 
  10. ^ Published anonymously as "Scala graduum Caloris. Calorum Descriptiones & signa." in Philosophical Transactions. 1701. pp. 824–829. 
  11. ^ Nichols, Joannes, ed. (1782). Isaaci Newtoni Opera quae exstant omnia. 4. pp. 403–407. 
  12. ^ Silverman, Mark P. (2002), A Universe of Atoms, Springer, p. 49