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Metric System

  Until the end of the 18th century no standardization of measurement was used internationally, which led to misunderstandings in measurements across borders as well as from town to town. The French Academy of Sciences proposed a simple logical system based upon decimalisation. They proposed that the basic unit of length was to be one ten-millionth of the distance from the North Pole to the Equator, and this was to be known as the metre. Every other measurement was then based upon the unit of length. The unit of mass, the gram, is the mass of a cubic centimetre of distilled water at 4°C, while the litre was 1,000 cubic centimetres of distilled water. With Napoleon\'s conquests throughout Europe, the simplicity and logic of the metric system made it the ideal system to adopt. Although its adoption has been accepted worldwide, old measures still live on, such as the hand for measuring horses, and the gallon for measuring liquids.

Since 1971, however, the world has been moving to a revised system based on the original metric system, the ‘Système Internationale d\'Unités’. AA

See also measurements.Further reading R.A. Lay, Measuring the Metric Way.



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