Standard (timber unit)

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A standard or standard hundred was a measure of timber used in trade.[1][2]

Proposed 1920 logship "composed of fifteen hundred standards, of which twelve hundred would be the cargo proper and three hundred the structure and binding frames."

The standard varied in number, size and composition from country to country so the term is usually proceeded by the region or port of origin.[2] The countries of the Baltic region were major producers and exporters of timber and so their standards were used in trade with other countries such as Britain. Hundred in this usage was usually a long hundred, meaning 120, but the word hundred may be dropped. The timber would be typically called battens (7 inches wide), deals (above 7, usually 9 inches wide) and planks (11 inches wide); boards were under 2 inches thick.[3][4]

The standard hundred of the Russian capital of Saint Petersburg was 120 boards which were 12 feet long, 1½ inches thick and 11 inches wide – a volume of 165 cubic feet.[5] The city changed its name to Petrograd when the First World War started in 1914 and so the unit was then known as the Petrograd Standard or PSH (Petrograd Standard Hundred).[6] This unit also used the spelling Petersburgh.[7]

The Christiania standard was 5/8 of the Petersburg standard, making it 103.125 cubic feet.[3]

The Swedish standard hundred was 121 boards of 14 feet long, 3 inches thick and 9 inches wide, making 317.625 cubic feet.[5]

The Norwegian standard hundred was 120 boards of 12 feet long, 3 inches thick and 9 inches wide, making 270 cubic feet.[5]

The British standard hundred for battens was 120 battens of 12 feet long, 2½ inches thick and 7 inches wide, making 175 cubic feet.[5]

The Quebec standard hundred was 100 boards of 12 feet long, 2½ inches thick and 11 inches wide, making 275 cubic feet.[8]

The American standard hundred was 120 deals of 12 feet long, 2 inches thick and 12 inches wide, making 240 cubic feet.[9]

The deals for decking sold in the ports of Danzig and Memel were planks of 40 feet long, 3 inches thick and 1 foot wide.[5] A standard hundred of 120 would be 1200 cubic feet.

Timber was an important import for Britain and the supply was affected by the Napoleonic Wars. North America replaced Scandinavia as a source and the annual volume of trade in standards during this period changed as follows (standards per year):[10]

Years Baltic North America
1788–92 73,132 866
1803–07 77,392 5,511
1829–33 40,927 134,227

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "standard, n. (a.)". Retrieved 8 November 2019. 13. b. A definite quantity of timber, differing in different countries. (Cf. standard deal, B.1c.)
  2. ^ a b Edwin Haynes (1921). Timber technicalities : being definitions of terms used in the home and foreign timber, mahogany and hardwood industries, the sawmill and woodworking trades, as well as those employed in connection with architecture and building construction. William Rider & Son. p. 132. Standard Hundred. An established measure for timber consisting of 120 pieces (the Long Hundred or 10 dozen), except the Quebec Standard, which contains 100, of a certain size. The Petrograd or St. Petersburg Standard is the one most generally used in this country. In the early days of timber importing, each of the principal ports had its own standard, but most of these have fallen into disuse, as have the London and Dublin Standards.
  3. ^ a b Richardson, William (1884). The Timber-merchant's, Saw-miller's, and Importer's Freight-Book and Assistant. Crosby Lockwood & Company.
  4. ^ Stevens, R. W. (1863). On the Stowage of Ships and Their Cargoes. Рипол Классик. ISBN 9785879056808.
  5. ^ a b c d e Simmonds, Peter Lund (1858), "Standard", The Dictionary of Trade Products, Manufacturing, and Technical Terms: with a Definition of the Moneys, Weights, and Measures of All Countries, Reduced to the British Standard, Farringdon Street: G. Routledge, p. 358
  6. ^ Rea, John Todd (1947), How to Estimate: being the analysis of builders' prices, giving full details of estimating for every class of building work, with thousands of prices, and much useful memoranda, B.T. Batsford, pp. 330, 345
  7. ^ Report from the Select Committee on Timber Duties. 1835.
  8. ^ Judson, William B. (1894). The Lumberman's Handbook of Inspection and Grading. Northwestern Lumberman.
  9. ^ Stoddart, Richard (1818). Tables for computing the Solid Contents of Timber. Author.
  10. ^ Leigh, Jack H. (1981), "A Short History of the Timber Trade", Timber Trade Practice, Macmillan International Higher Education, p. 1, ISBN 9781349038466