From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The stone (abbreviation st) is a units of measurement that was used in many North European countries until the advent of metrication. Its value, which ranged from 3 kg to 12 kg, varied from city to city and also often from commodity to commodity. In the United Kingdom its value is normally taken as being equal to 14 avoirdupois pounds, though prior to the Second World War it had other values, depending on its use. The stone is still in common use in Britain and Ireland for measuring personal body weight, although it no longer has a legal status in either country other than as a supplementary measure.
History (United Kingdom)
The stone was originally used for weighing agricultural commodities. Historically, the number of pounds in a stone varied by commodity, and it was not the same in all times and places even for one commodity. Potatoes, for example, were traditionally sold in stone and half-stone (14-pound and 7-pound, respectively) increments, but the Oxford English Dictionary contains examples including the following.
|Commodity||Number of Pounds|
|Wool||14, 15, 24|
|Sugar and spice||8|
|Beef and mutton||8|
The 1772 edition of Encyclopædia Britannica defined the "stone" as follows.
STONE also denotes a certain quantity or weight of some commodities. A stone of beef, in London, is the quantity of eight pounds; in Hertfordshire, twelve pounds; in Scotland sixteen pounds.
In 1661 Royal Commission of Scotland recommended the troy stone be used for weight and that it be kept in the custody of the burgh of Lanark. The Scots stone was equal to 16 Scots pounds (17 lb 8 oz avoidupois or 7.936 kg). The tron (or local) stone of Edinburgh, also standardised in 1661, was 16 tron pounds (24 lb 1 oz avoidupois or 9.996 kg) The Scots stone ceased to be used for trade when the Act of 1824 established a uniform system of measure across the whole of the United Kingdom. At the time it ceased to be legal as a primary measure for trade in United Kingdom in 1985, the stone was defined in British legislation, in the table of units for the "Measurement of mass or weight", as being equal to 14 avoirdupois pounds (6.35029318 kg).
History (Continental Europe)
Before the advent of metrication, the stone (German: Stein; Dutch: Steen) was used in many North European countries. Its value, usually between 3 and 10 kg, varied from city to city and sometimes from commodity to commodity. The number of local "pounds" in a stone also varied from city to city. During the early part of the nineteenth century, states such as the Netherlands (including Belgium) and the South Western German states which had redefined their system of measure using the kilogramme des Archives as a reference for weight (mass) also redefined their stone to align it with the the kilogram.
This table shows a selection of stones from various North European Continental cities:
|City||Modern Country||Description||Weight of
|10.0||20||From 1841 onwards|
|Germany||schwerer Stein||10.296||22||heavy stone|
|leichte Stein||5.148||11||light stone|
|grosse Stein||15.444||33||large stone|
|kleine Stein||10.296||22||small stone|
|Bremen||Germany||Stein Flachs||9.97||20||stone of flax|
|Stein Wolle und Federn||4.985||10||stone of wool and feathers|
|Oldenburg||Germany||Stein Flachs||9.692||20||stone of flax|
|Stein Wolle und Federn||4.846||10||stone of wool and feathers|
|Amsterdam||Netherlands||Steen||3||3||"Metric stone" (after 1817)|
The stone was not included in the Directive 80/181/EEC as a unit of measure that could be used within the EEC for "economic, public health, public safety or administrative purposes", though its use as a "supplementary unit" was permitted. The scope of the directive was extended to include all aspects of the EU internal market as from 1 January 2010.
The 1985 Weights and Measures Act aligned British law with the EU directive. Part of the act was to repeal earlier acts that defined the stone when used as a unit of measure for trade. (British law had previously been silent regarding other uses of the stone) However the stone remains widely used within Britain and Ireland as a means of expressing human body weight. People in these countries normally describe themselves as weighing, for example, "11 stone 4" (11 stones and 4 pounds), rather than "72 kilograms" in most other countries, or "158 pounds" (the conventional way of expressing the same weight in the United States and Canada).
Its widespread everyday use is consistent with the persistence in Britain and Ireland of other imperial units like the foot, the inch, and the yard, although these have been officially replaced in some uses by metric units. Thus on a National Health Service website the user may select imperial units.
When used as the unit of measurement, the plural form of stone is correctly stone (as in, "11 stone" or "12 stone 6 pounds"); when describing the units, the correct plural is stones (as in, "Please enter your weight in stones and pounds").
In many sports such as professional boxing, wrestling and horse racing, the stone is used as a means of measuring weight, but in the Olympic Games kilograms are used to describe the weight divisions in Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, boxing (and judo).
- ^ 'Concise Oxford Dictionary', Oxford University Pres; 1964
- ^ Oxford English Dictionary definition for Stone - meaning 14a
- ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Vol III, Edinburgh - 1772.
- ^ "Scottish Weights and Measures: Weight". SCAN Weights and Measures Guide: Background information about Scottish weights and measures. Scottish Archive Network. http://www.scan.org.uk/measures/weight.asp. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- ^ "Scottish Weights and Measures: Background". SCAN Weights and Measures Guide: Background information about Scottish weights and measures. Scottish Archive Network. http://www.scan.org.uk/measures/background.asp. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- ^ Mairi Robinson, ed (2005) . "Appendix - Scottish Currency, Weights and Measures". Concise Scots Dictionary. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press Ltd. p. 817. ISBN 1 902930 00 2.
- ^ a b "Weights and Measures Act 1985". Her Majesty's Stationery Office. 1985-10-30. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1985/pdf/ukpga_19850072_en.pdf. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
- ^ Doursther, Horace (1840). Dictionnaire universel des poids et mesures anciens et modernes. Bruxelles: M. Hayez. p. 424. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=KAibOR651tkC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=liege&f=false. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Noback, Christian; Noback, Friedrich Eduard (1851) (in German). Vollständiges tasehenbuch der Münz-, Maass- und Gewichts-Verhältnisse etc. aller Länder und Handelsplätze [Comprehensive pocketbook of money, weights and measures for all counties and trading centres]. I. Leipzig: F. А. Вrockhaus. http://books.google.fr/books?id=AkhTAAAAMAAJ&printsec=titlepage#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- ^ a b c d e f Noback, Christian; Noback, Friedrich Eduard (1851) (in German). Vollständiges tasehenbuch der Münz-, Maass- und Gewichts-Verhältnisse etc. aller Länder und Handelsplätze [Comprehensive pocketbook of money, weights and measures for all counties and trading centres]. II. Leipzig: F. А. Вrockhaus. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=KEpTAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- ^ The Council of the European Communities (1979-12-21). "Council Directive 80/181/EEC of 20 December 1979 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to Unit of measurement and on the repeal of Directive 71/354/EEC". http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31980L0181:EN:NOT. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
- ^ The Council of the European Communities (2009-05-27). "Council Directive 80/181/EEC of 20 December 1979 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to Unit of measurement and on the repeal of Directive 71/354/EEC". http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CONSLEG:1980L0181:20090527:EN:PDF. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
- ^ One example of the use of stone (which uses kilograms in parentheses) is this BBC News item Obese 40-stone Somerset man 'too heavy to cremate'.
- ^ "Weight Loss Blog". National Health Service. http://talk.nhs.uk/blogs/weightloss/default.aspx. Retrieved 2010-06-23.
- ^ "Official website of the Olympic Movement: Sports". International Olympic Committee. http://www.olympic.org/sports. Retrieved 2011-08-29.