The development of the metric system was a truly international effort. The British have made substantial contributions to its development. The metric is in effect an English invention. Metrication was first proposed by an Englishman, the Reverend John Wilkins in 1668. British scientists have been at the forefront of developing the metric system, and many have given their names to metric units, including Newton, Faraday, Joule, Kelvin and Watt.Continue reading “British contributions to the metric system”
Acres made easy
We look ahead to the 400th anniversary of an innovation that simplified the measurement of land area, initially in England and later in the UK, by introducing decimals.
A Dickensian surprise
Charles Dickens is enduringly popular for his memorable characters and his portrayal of the social evils of Victorian England. One of our regular readers, Martin Vlietstra, draws attention to an unexpected contribution he made to Britain’s long-running metrication debate.
Why ten and not twelve?
This is a question that often arises during discussions on the merits of the metric system. Martin Vlietstra, one of our regular readers, provides some thoughts on the matter, coincidentally on 10 October.
Whitworth’s forgotten legacy
Whitworth is famous for the eponymous screw thread, and for his promotion of standard measures and interchangeability that brought about an engineering revolution. Less well known are his enthusiasm for decimal measurement and his opposition to the introduction of the metric system in Britain.
Launch of the decimal euro
Fifteen years ago, on 1 January 1999, the euro was introduced as an accounting currency. Notes and coins were introduced three years later. Whilst there are arguments for and against the euro, and UKMA takes no position on this issue, no one challenged at the time that the single currency would be decimal.
10-10-10. A reason for celebration
For many in Britain, the metric system and decimal measures are the same. Sunday’s once-in-a-century date provides an opportunity to consider the link between the two.