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Did The US Ever Consider The Metric System?  
User currently onlineTheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3564 posts, RR: 29
Posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3418 times:

Let me make this clear, this thread is not meant as US bashing.

But was the metric system ever considered in the US? I always find it odd that the US still use feet, inches, gallons and so on. Yet I know that you certainly think it is the best system as you are used to it. Equally, I would hate to change to another system as I was born with the metric system.

So a change to the metric system obviously will never happen.

But was it seriously considered? And why are you using Fahrenheit instead of Celsius?

Michael

36 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineCaptOveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3408 times:

Quoting TheSonntag (Thread starter):
But was the metric system ever considered in the US?

Yes, and every few years they re-consider it

Quoting TheSonntag (Thread starter):
I always find it odd that the US still use feet, inches, gallons and so on.

So do I.. I know the Metric system is better, as does just about anyone with any kind of a brain, but in the US everything is done to the lease common denominator. Thus, we fear change.


User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3405 times:

I remember dual use in the 70s, where speed limit signs and all sorts of things were required to be in both metric and Imperial. It was very silly, and died in the early 80s.

User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 3, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3400 times:

The last time there was a big push must have been in the Carter administration.

The big problem with that effort was that they kept translating for us. People got the idea that they'd have to use both system always for the rest of their lives.

I'm not that big a fan of the metric system. The math is really simple but it is not based on anything real any more than feet, miles or furlongs are. Maybe we should have some system based on the size of the earth.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineCaptOveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3391 times:

I think we should express speed in Furlongs per Fortnight

Fuel Economy in Furlongs per hogshead.

Those are all the stupid ones I can think of at the moment.


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26414 posts, RR: 75
Reply 5, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3390 times:

Actually, metric is the official system of measurements for the US Government. The reason Imperial measurements (with some exceptions, our pints are smaller than UK pints, as are our gallons) are still used so much is because of the difficulty in converting such a large country en masse. The road system alone would cost billions and take quite a long time.


Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39831 posts, RR: 74
Reply 6, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3390 times:

Quoting Cfalk (Reply 2):
I remember dual use in the 70s, where speed limit signs and all sorts of things were required to be in both metric and Imperial. It was very silly, and died in the early 80s.

I remember seeing both signs as recently as the mid-1990s.

That 1987 Chrysler LeBaron convertible I used to have had US and metric nuts & bolts. That added to the frustration of owning such an unreliable car. It was full of suprises on the road and in the garage.
The digital instrument display like all other cars that come with that option can convert everything to metric with just one push of a botton.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently onlineTheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3564 posts, RR: 29
Reply 7, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3386 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 3):

Well, while the definitions itself are pretty strange today, as they needed to be more accurate, the original definitions of the metric system were based on the earth. For example, a cubic decimeter of water at lowest (3.8 degr. Celsius) density is exactly containing 1litre of water, weigthing exactly 1kg).
Of course, these definitions are not the ones used anymore today, but they make it very easy to calculate.

The metre actually was based on the size of the earth, but this definition is not used anymore.


User currently offlineKiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8548 posts, RR: 13
Reply 8, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3384 times:
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Quoting SlamClick (Reply 3):
The math is really simple but it is not based on anything real any more than feet, miles or furlongs are. Maybe we should have some system based on the size of the earth

actually it is ....or , at least , it was meant to be

http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/meter.html

Thus, the meter was intended to equal 10-7 or one ten-millionth of the length of the meridian through Paris from pole to the equator. However, the first prototype was short by 0.2 millimeters because researchers miscalculated the flattening of the earth due to its rotation.



Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Reply 9, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3376 times:

But was the metric system ever considered in the US?

Yes, and in some places, that system got the best possible response-the signs were actually shot down.


User currently offlineLogan22L From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3372 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 3):
but it is not based on anything real any more than feet, miles or furlongs are.

Not true, actually. The meter was defined in the late 1700s as one ten-millionth of a quadrant of the earth's surface - that is the distance from the north pole to the equator.

The kilogram then became the mass of a cubic "container" of water 0.1 meters in each dimension.


User currently offlineAloges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 8702 posts, RR: 43
Reply 11, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3367 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 3):
Maybe we should have some system based on the size of the earth.

Which would be... the metric system!  Wink



Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
User currently offlineFokker Lover From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3346 times:

I had the most difficulty converting to metric time.
Working for an airline on 3rd shift with metric weekends is a real killer.


User currently offlineRedngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 44
Reply 13, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3342 times:

The metric system failed in the U.S. when, upon conversion of the length of I-90 (The U.S.'s longest interstate highway) from miles to kilometers, it was found that while its eastern terminus would remain at Boston, MA, its western terminus would be relocated to Humboldt, South Dakota - a thoroughly unacceptable alternative.


redngold
(Sorry, it's a math geek joke)



Up, up and away!
User currently offlineDfwRevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 968 posts, RR: 51
Reply 14, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3340 times:

Quoting Aloges (Reply 11):
Which would be... the metric system!

The metric unit for distance (meter) is no longer represented by any earthly quantity:

"The metre (or meter) (symbol: m) is the SI base unit of length. It is defined as the length of the path travelled by light in absolute vacuum during a time interval of 1/299,792,458 of a second."


User currently offlineAloges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 8702 posts, RR: 43
Reply 15, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3330 times:

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 14):
The metric unit for distance (meter) is no longer represented by any earthly quantity:

Nowadays, you're correct. However its roots are very much down to earth:

Quoting Logan22L (Reply 10):
Not true, actually. The meter was defined in the late 1700s as one ten-millionth of a quadrant of the earth's surface - that is the distance from the north pole to the equator.



Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
User currently onlineTheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3564 posts, RR: 29
Reply 16, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3321 times:

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 14):

No, but that doesn't change the fact that the original definiton still is correct. The kg, for example, is defined as the weight of the international kilogram prototype, but 1 cubic decimetre of water at 3,8 degrees still weighs a kilogram.

So unless you are a physician, the definitons are still pretty straightforward.

However, I personally really hate Kilonewton. 500000lbs of thrust is something I understand. 250kn not. But this does not change the fact that I never would want to change from the metric system to another system. And therefore I also understand that people in the US don't want to change, either.

For example, the power of car engine in Germany officially must be measured in kW. Nobody cares, everybody wants to know how many horsepower (the German unit, PS, I guess every country had a slightly different definition of horsepower) it has.

If you changed it today in the US, I guess it would take 40 to 80 years until everybody uses the new units.

But I still think the metric system is better  Smile


User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3309 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 6):
I remember seeing both signs as recently as the mid-1990s.

They still have them on several highways in Newton County east of Atlanta.


User currently offlinePA110 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1999 posts, RR: 23
Reply 18, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3302 times:
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If I recall correctly, the reason why the Metric system failed was the cost. At the time it was introduced by the Carter Administration in the 70's, the U.S. economy was experiencing high inflation. Neither private industry nor the federal government was willing to underwrite the pretty hefty costs associated with converting to metric.


It's been swell, but the swelling has gone down.
User currently offlineYooYoo From Canada, joined Nov 2003, 6057 posts, RR: 50
Reply 19, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3298 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 3):
The last time there was a big push must have been in the Carter administration

Quick, Canada, lets adapt it before the US does......

....the rest is history !  Wink



I am so smart, i am so smart... S-M-R-T... i mean S-M-A-R-T
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26414 posts, RR: 75
Reply 20, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3293 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 6):
I remember seeing both signs as recently as the mid-1990s.

They are still in some parts of the US, including our home state of California.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently onlineTheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3564 posts, RR: 29
Reply 21, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days ago) and read 3279 times:

Does Canada have the metric system?

User currently offlinePrebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6420 posts, RR: 54
Reply 22, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days ago) and read 3276 times:

Quoting Aloges (Reply 11):
Quoting SlamClick (Reply 3):
Maybe we should have some system based on the size of the earth.

Which would be... the metric system!

Aeh, that was in the good old days. Some 30 or 40 years ago the UN redefined the meter to be the length of a certain number of emission waves of gamma rays from a certain radioactive isotope. I don't remember the details.

That makes the meter a constant thing while the Earth is growing bigger at sea level as the sea rises due to global warming.

Edit: Wrong! Read reply #14 instead. I was mixing up with the modern definition of the second (time unit). Sorry.

[Edited 2005-11-23 01:53:38]


Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
User currently offlineRayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 8002 posts, RR: 5
Reply 23, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days ago) and read 3266 times:

Actually, the US automotive industry has heavily used the metric system for a number of years. Note that nowadays engine displacement is defined in cubic centimeters or liters and tire width is defined in millimeters (though for some strange reason automotive wheel size is defined in inches even in metric countries; the Michelin attempt to definite automotive wheel size in millimeters with the TRX tire wasn't adopted by anyone else).

Also, the food industry has both metric and English measurements for weight, dry capacity and liquid capacity since the late 1970's. That's why you see soda bottles in 1 and 2 liter sizes all over the USA.

One thing that I find puzzling is the fact that even now flight altitude for commercial airliners are still defined in feet and not meters (per current ICAO rules).


User currently offlineYooYoo From Canada, joined Nov 2003, 6057 posts, RR: 50
Reply 24, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days ago) and read 3262 times:

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 21):
Does Canada have the metric system?

Sure do and loving it !!



I am so smart, i am so smart... S-M-R-T... i mean S-M-A-R-T
25 Logan22L : It's funny in the US, because I use the metric system every day at work (micrograms, millgrams, liters, cubic meters, degrees Celcius) and then use th
26 USFlyer MSP : In the late 80's - early 90's, the school district I attended until the 8th grade in New York State declined to teach the imperial system of measureme
27 IRelayer : Because we can? :P I honestly learned Metric (science) and Imperial (everything else) pretty randomly throughout school and to this day Metric is much
28 L-188 : My 81 Ford Pickup was the same way...Body built in Windsor Ontario and the engine from the USA. And for those of you who pay taxes in this country. T
29 Basas : Half...most people use feet/inches/yards/acres/miles, etc.etc. just as (if not more often) than metric...
30 MHTMDW : The US military is metric. Every body knows what a liter is. Drugs both legal and illegal are metric,and everybody knows what the units mean. Booze is
31 N1120A : Did it have a 351? If that is the case, it was likely a 351 Windsor. Isn't it 3.685?
32 L-188 : Nope, it had the 300ci straight six. Great motor, most baggage tugs in the US still use that motor. But I had to have a set of standard wrenches for
33 N1120A : Straight Sixes are always great motors, the inherent balance means even Ford can f' it up. sic, but damn funny way of putting it
34 TheSonntag : Thank you all for your great replies. What I find odd is the fact that russia uses metric altitudes, while most other parts of the world use feet. I a
35 Post contains images Logan22L : No - perhaps you were thinking of your IQ?
36 Superfly : I prefer to say 7.5 or 460 cubic inches instead of 7500cc. A friend of mine frome India asked how big my engine was in matric. He had no idea that th
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