U.S. Customary Unit System

Standard of Length.—In 1866 the United States, by act of Congress, passed a law making legal the meter, the only measure of length that has been legalized by the United States Government.

The United States yard is defined by the relation:

1 yard = 3600⁄3937 meter.

The legal equivalent of the meter for commercial purposes was fixed as 39.37 inches, by law, in July, 1866, and experience having shown that this value was exact within the error of observation, the United States Office of Standard Weights and Measures was, in 1893, authorized to derive the yard from the meter by the use of this relation. The United States prototype meters Nos. 27 and 21 were received from the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in 1889. Meter No. 27, sealed in its metal case, is preserved in a fireproof vault at the Bureau of Standards.

Comparisons made prior to 1893 indicated that the relation of the yard to the meter, fixed by the Act of 1866, was by chance the exact relation between the international meter and the British imperial yard, within the error of observation. A subsequent comparison made between the standards just mentioned indicates that the legal relation adopted by Congress is in error 0.0001 inch; but, in view of the fact that certain comparisons made by the English Standards Office between the imperial yard and its authentic copies show variations as great if not greater than this, it cannot be said with certainty that there is a difference between the imperial yard of Great Britain and the United States yard derived from the meter.

The bronze yard No. 11, which was an exact copy of the British imperial yard both in form and material, had shown changes when compared with the imperial yard in 1876 and 1888, which could not reasonably be said to be entirely due to changes in Bronze No. 11. On the other hand, the new meters represented the most advanced ideas of standards, and it therefore seemed that greater stability as well as higher accuracy would be secured by accepting the international meter as a fundamental standard of length.

U.S. Customary Unit System

The USCS is originated from the foot-pound-second unit system or English unit system.

The USCS system and English unit system are same for the measures of length and mass, but it varies for the measure of capacity. The U.S. gallon is defined as 231 cubic inches and bushel as 2,150.42 cubic inches where as the corresponding English units are 277.42 cubic inches and 2,219.36 cubic inches.




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