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Weights and Measures Standards
of the
United States
A brief history

Louis E. Barbrow and Lewis V. Judson
1976


This publication provides a brief history of U.S. weights and measures from the founding of the country to about 1975. It includes copies of the notices published in the Federal Register of the United States that give the relationships between various customary units of weights and measures and SI units. It is out of print, but available online as a complete PDF document (67 MB), or by selecting specific sections (also PDF files) listed below in the Table of Contents.

 

Table of Contents

  PDF Size   Pages

  Covers (front and back) (5.3 MB)  
Cover page (1.4 MB) i-ii
Foreword (372 kB) iii
Preface (798 kB) iv
Contents (594 kB) v
1.  Introduction (2.7 MB) 1-2
2.  Early history of weights and measures in the United States (7.5 MB) 2-6
3.  Units and standards (1.5 MB) 6
4.  Early United States standards (7.4 MB) 6-10
5.  Use of metric system officially permitted (5.1 MB) 10-13
6.  International standards of weights and measures (6.1 MB) 13-16
7.  The Mendenhall Order (7.0 MB) 16-20
8.  Refinement of values for the yard and pound (1.5 MB) 20
9.  Wavelength definition of the meter (1.3 MB) 21
10.  Other definitions of units
11.  Current and historical standards of length and mass at the National Bureau of Standards  (7.0 MB) 21-25
12.  Addendum (The period 1963-1975) (2.4 MB) 25-26
Appendix 1  Bibliography (1.5 MB) 27
Appendix 2  Report on the troy pound of the Mint
Appendix 3  The Mendenhall Order of April 5, 1893 (3.3 MB) 28-29
Appendix 4  The international nautical mile (3.0 MB) 29-30
Appendix 5  The U.S. yard and pound (2.9 MB) 30-31
Appendix 6  Adoption of the wavelength definition of the meter (2.0 MB) 31-32
Appendix 7  Metric system of weights and measures (Federal Register Notice of June 19, 1975) (1.6 MB) 33
Appendix 8  Commercial weights and measures units (Federal Register Notice of July 27, 1968) (1.6 MB) 34-35
Appendix 9  Commercial weights and measures units (Federal Register Notice of February 3, 1975) (756 kB) 36