I is for International System of Units

Those who claim the United States is slow off the metric ball are only partially right. “The key agreement is the Treaty of the Meter (Convention du Mètre), signed in Paris on May 20, 1875. 48 nations have now signed this treaty, including all the major industrialized countries.”


I blame Arthur. There’s this blogger/podcaster I’ve been following, AmeriNZ, an American expat now living in New Zealand. At some point in a recent podcast, he asked if anyone in his audience knew what one calls the United States system of measurement involving pounds, quarts and feet, knowing, KNOWING that I would have to look it up; the scoundrel!

Since I could not find the answer anywhere online, I decided to contact the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and not just NIST but its Weights and Measures Division. And do you know what the woman on the phone told me? There IS no standard nomenclature for the collective U.S. weights and measurements!

Meanwhile, the system most people call “the metric system” is actually The International System of Units, Système International d’Unités, or SI for short.
At the heart of the SI is a short list of base units defined in an absolute way without referring to any other units… In all there are seven SI base units Continue reading “I is for International System of Units”