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Obsolete german units of measurement

The meaning of «obsolete german units of measurement»

The obsolete units of measurement of German-speaking countries consist of a variety of units, with varying local standard definitions. Some of these units are still used in everyday speech and even in stores and on street markets as shorthand for similar amounts in the metric system. For example, some customers ask for one pound (ein Pfund) of something when they want 500 grams.

The metric system became compulsory on 1 January 1872, in Germany and on 1 January 1876, in Austria.[1]

Some obsolete German units have names similar to units that were traditionally used in other countries, and that are still used in the United Kingdom (imperial units) and the United States (United States customary units).

Before the introduction of the metric system in German, almost every town had its own definitions of the units shown below. Often towns posted local definitions on a wall of the city hall. For example, the front wall of the old city hall of Rudolstädt (still standing) has two marks which show the "Rudolstädter Elle", the proper length of the Elle in that city. Supposedly by 1810 there were 112 different standards for the Elle around Germany.[citation needed]

A German geographic mile (geographische Meile) is defined as ​1⁄15 equatorial degrees, equal to 7,420.54 m (24,345.6 ft). A common German mile, land mile, or post mile (Gemeine deutsche Meile, Landmeile, Postmeile) was defined in various ways at different places and different times. After the introduction of the metric system in the 19th century, the Landmeile was generally fixed at 7,500 m (24,606 ft) (the Reichsmeile), but before then there were many local and regional variants (of which some are shown below):

One hour's travel, used up to the 19th century. In Germany ​1⁄2 Meile or 3.71 km (2.31 mi). After 1722 in Saxony ​1⁄2 post mile = 1000 Dresden rods = 4531 m.[2] In Switzerland 16,000 ft or 4.88 km.

The Fuß or German foot varied widely from place to place in the German-speaking world, and also with time. In some places, more than one type of Fuß was in use. One source from 1830[3] gives the following values:

The Rute or Ruthe is of Carolingian origin,[citation needed] and was used as a land measure. Many different kinds of Ruthe were used at various times in various parts of the German-speaking world. They were subdivided into differing numbers of local Fuß, and were of many different lengths. One source from 1830[3] lists the following:

Originally 6 feet, after introduction of the metric system 10 feet. Regional variants from 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in) in Baden to 3 m (9 ft 10 in) in Switzerland.

The Lachter was the most common unit of length used in mining in German-speaking areas. Its exact length varied from place to place but was roughly between 1.9 and 2.1 metres (6 ft 3 in and 6 ft 11 in).

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