Author Topic: The History of Metrication  (Read 3756 times)

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Offline Wolfgang

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #25 on: July 31, 2018, 08:28:05 pm »
In my next life I'll invent a system of measures that has NO integer division ratios between ANY units. Bingo !  :wtf:
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #26 on: July 31, 2018, 08:30:54 pm »
There's one important date to keep in mind when chastising the US over its units:  July 20, 1969.  We walked on the Moon...

Well, Werner von Braun's German technology (originally designed in metric units) got you to the Moon.  :)

I always cringe a bit when an American brings up the Moon landings as evidence of American superiority, just as I do when an Englishman brings up our 1966 World Cup victory as evidence of Britain's greatness. Both events were in the middle of the last century...

Not only were the 6 landings in the middle of the last century, 49 years later and nobody else has come close.  In my view it was the greatest technical and scientific achievement in history.  Twelve astronauts walked on the surface.  Consider the technology in play at the time.  We have single chip microcontrollers more capable than the Apollo Guidance Computer.  And we darn sure wouldn't have to weave core memory.

As to stealing the German scientists, sure, we steal talent all the time with our O-1 Visa program.

Soccer doesn't resonate in the US.  There is a lot of it going on but it has never been a commercial success.
 

Offline rdl

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #27 on: July 31, 2018, 08:51:31 pm »
As soon as somebody else lands on the Moon and eclipses that achievement, then we will probably continue to bring it up. The sooner that happens, the better, as far as I'm concerned.

I thought it was the German scientists that came looking for the US.

I played soccer in high school back in the sixties. As far as I know, it has always been part of school athletics, but it has never caught on here as a professionally sport.

I worked in the industrial coating business for most of my life and used metric units almost exclusively, but paint was still sold by the gallon.
 

Offline glarsson

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #28 on: July 31, 2018, 08:57:31 pm »
As long as they don't exclude our non-metric products, we'll get along fine.
Why should I buy your non-metric products? I have no use for them.
 

Offline Tepe

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #29 on: July 31, 2018, 09:16:48 pm »
Not only were the 6 landings in the middle of the last century, 49 years later and nobody else has come close.
Very true, not even the U.S. itself.
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Offline rstofer

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #30 on: July 31, 2018, 11:11:19 pm »
Not only were the 6 landings in the middle of the last century, 49 years later and nobody else has come close.
Very true, not even the U.S. itself.

Unfortunately, that is true.  The US has lost its way, defunding NASA and pumping money into social programs.  I seriously doubt we will ever do anything as significant again.  Space-X might do something but I fear NASA is a dead issue.

You had to be there, and some of you were, but the US kicked it into high gear when Sputnik was launched in 1957.  I was about 11 so I would have been just starting 6th grade.  All of a sudden math and science were the most important subjects on the blackboard.  Education became a thing!  We needed engineers and we needed them immediately.  Twelve years later we were on the Moon.  A lot of science filtered out of that program including microelectronics.  Medicine benefited as  well.  Our latest achievement is Facebook?

https://www.nasa.gov/50th/50th_magazine/benefits.html

Anybody know who made the space suits?  Yup!  Playtex...

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/what-did-playtex-have-to-do-with-neil-armstrong-16588944/

 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #31 on: July 31, 2018, 11:20:57 pm »
The US Gallon derives from "A pint's a pound, the world around!".  A pint of water is 16 fluid ounces which weights 16 ounces - a pound.  Two pints to a quart, 4 quarts (8 pints) to a gallon so a gallon weighs 8 pounds and is 128 ounces of liquid.

Close enough...

"A pint of clear water weighs a pound & a quarter" was what we learnt when I was a kid in Oz!
The US pint makes a bit more sense, as it relates weight & liquid measure on a 1:1 basis.

Our (& much of the rest of the world's) "44 gallon drums, are your "55 gallon", we were agreeably surprised when buying US cars, that the mpg figure was better than that we read in US reports.
It went the other way round, too--mpg figures from Oz & UK vehicle tests turned out to be worse (numerically) when tested in the USA.

Australia went metric in the 1970s, with few glitches.
By the way, your 1/2" & 9/16"AF spanners will do double duty as 13mm & 14mm spanners respectively.

There has been a certain amount of "re-Imperialisation by stealth" in recent years, with beer being sold in pints.(apparently it helps the little "trendoids" pretend they are in London) >:(
Not all pints are equal, as some may be wimpy little US pints, & not full-blooded "hair on their chest" Brit pints. ;D

Another thing is the revival of Whitworth threaded bolts, thanks largely to the massive output of these devices in India, which is largely unreconstructed "Imperial".
 

Online tautech

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #32 on: July 31, 2018, 11:37:14 pm »
Another thing is the revival of Whitworth threaded bolts, thanks largely to the massive output of these devices in India, which is largely unreconstructed "Imperial".
You'd really wonder why any modern manufacturer would want to use Whitworth.  ::)
Sure for India it comes from the days of British influence but really in this day and age ?  :-//
OK so they cheaped out on needing to update their tooling but that still leaves them using 19th century technology.

Metric is where it's at, coarse, fine and super fine in most thread sizes.

I've used BSW, BSF, UNC, UNF and most of the pipe threads ever made too, I'll keep BSPT but give me metric for everything else thank you.
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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #33 on: July 31, 2018, 11:39:52 pm »
There's one important date to keep in mind when chastising the US over its units:  July 20, 1969.  We walked on the Moon...

Well, Werner von Braun's German technology (originally designed in metric units) got you to the Moon.  :)

I always cringe a bit when an American brings up the Moon landings as evidence of American superiority, just as I do when an Englishman brings up our 1966 World Cup victory as evidence of Britain's greatness. Both events were in the middle of the last century...

Well Werner & others didn't think this stuff up from scratch, there was a lot of "cross pollination" between the "rocket geeks" in various countries, prior to the Hitler era.
Another well known rocket pioneer comes to mind, the American, Robert Goddard.

"The World Game".
Well, after all, you Poms did invent it, & worked hard to infect Europe with it, so you can take a lot of credit.
Strangely, it never took off that well in either Australia, or in the USA or Canada.

By the way, the local "Football" fans hate to hear it called "soccer"----go figure!
 

Offline bsfeechannel

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #34 on: July 31, 2018, 11:52:03 pm »
Well, shoot, we are the largest economy in the world.  We don't care how other countries do things.
http://statisticstimes.com/economy/projected-world-gdp-ranking.php

The US accounts for 23.3% of the world's economy, which is quite impressive, but this also means that the largest economy in the world is the world minus the US (=76,7%). And the largest economy in the world chose métrique.


Countries that have officially adopted the metric system are in green (Antarctica is neutral). Source: Wikipedia.

Just saying.
 

Offline Cerebus

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #35 on: July 31, 2018, 11:56:35 pm »
The US pint makes a bit more sense, as it relates weight & liquid measure on a 1:1 basis.

Doesn't bloody well make sense when you get short measure down the pub!  :)

Another thing is the revival of Whitworth threaded bolts, thanks largely to the massive output of these devices in India, which is largely unreconstructed "Imperial".

Several old British production lines got moved lock, stock and barrel to India from the UK. Not off-shoring, but products that had met the end of their economic cycles here but were still attractive in India. Cases in point are Royal Enfield, the motorcycle manufacturer (although in their case I think it may just have been the plans and possibly some tooling, complete with Imperial threads), and large slabs of the older railway industry.
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Offline blueskull

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #36 on: August 01, 2018, 12:24:13 am »
Countries that have officially adopted the metric system are in green (Antarctica is neutral). Source: Wikipedia.

Officially doesn't mean completely.

China officially adopts SI, but we use gallons for large mineral water containers and oil drums, we use mils and oz/ft2 in PCB industry, we use hps (defined as 550 ft*lb/s) on motors and cars, and we use inches on display size measurement.

Many packaged food products sold in China also have oz or lb in addition to g/kg. We also sometimes use imperial sizes for stock metal cylinders/sheets/bars and screws. Chinese cars also have both mph and kph, just like cars everywhere else in the world.

If it works, and it's used by engineers/tradesmen everywhere in the world, then why bother change it? If it ain't broken, don't fix it!
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #37 on: August 01, 2018, 12:32:12 am »


The US accounts for 23.3% of the world's economy, which is quite impressive, but this also means that the largest economy in the world is the world minus the US (=76,7%). And the largest economy in the world chose métrique.

Just saying.

They're ganging up on us and we still don't care.

Metric needs a PR firm.  It is considered Euro-centric or, worse, French, and neither of those will sell in the US.  I'm not sure how to jazz it up when people are actively resistant.  If somebody seriously wanted the conversion, there would need to be a massive education program and PR job to sell it.  Where's the gain?  Why bother?

The only thing that matters is money and there's no money in making the conversion.  In fact, there are huge costs in terms of machine tools.  Lathe feed rates are in inches/revolution and that's a real problem.  Some of the inexpensive Grizzly lathes can cut both SAE and metric threads but I'm not sure the classic (old) lathes can cut metric.

BTW, Foster's Lager is great beer!  And the New Zealand and Australian embassies in Singapore provided bags of excellent wine for our weekly dive trips off the coast of Malaysia.  Truly excellent!  I once needed some machine work done.  The price?  A case of Foster's!

Guinness, OTOH, must be an acquired taste and I failed.  Maybe if I had stayed in Ireland a little longer I could have adapted.  Dinkelacker Pilsner was my favorite beer when I was stationed in Germany.  I have no idea how much was in the glass and by the end of the night, I didn't care.  I loved Germany!  What a place to party!
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #38 on: August 01, 2018, 12:33:36 am »
Another thing is the revival of Whitworth threaded bolts, thanks largely to the massive output of these devices in India, which is largely unreconstructed "Imperial".
You'd really wonder why any modern manufacturer would want to use Whitworth.  ::)
Sure for India it comes from the days of British influence but really in this day and age ?  :-//
OK so they cheaped out on needing to update their tooling but that still leaves them using 19th century technology.

Metric is where it's at, coarse, fine and super fine in most thread sizes.

I've used BSW, BSF, UNC, UNF and most of the pipe threads ever made too, I'll keep BSPT but give me metric for everything else thank you.

I suppose if you're bolting pieces of wood together for a pergola or something, it doesn't much matter!

Whitworth & UNC are, to a large extent, compatible, but I've always hated BSF!
Then there are the other delights--- BA, those weird US thread sizes that Tektronix use that don't seem to relate to anything else much, "Lucas threads".
My old 1936 Chev even used special  "General Motors threads" on the front axle!------aaarrrrrggggghhhh!.

By the way, talking of pre WW2 US cars, anyone remember how Chrysler used LH threaded wheel studs & nuts on the LH side of their cars?

Apparently, it took them a few years to realise that other carmakers weren't dropping wheels higgledy- piggledy, & came back from dreamland.
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #39 on: August 01, 2018, 12:42:48 am »
Some years back, I wanted to build a small, safe, sailing dinghy for my grandson.  I came across the Firebug from New Zealand and I really liked the flotation cavities fore and aft as well as the way the boat drains as it is turned upright.  It is a terrific design!  But, alas, it's metric.

Well, what do you know?  My tablesaw has dual units on the measuring tape and I bought a couple of metric only tape measures and built the boat.  All metric, no issues.

http://www.firebug.co.nz/

This is a great boat for kids to learn to sail!  I ordered some of the hardware and the sail direct from NZ and sourced everything else locally.
 

Offline bsfeechannel

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #40 on: August 01, 2018, 12:49:18 am »

Officially doesn't mean completely.

China officially adopts SI, but we use gallons for large mineral water containers and oil drums, we use mils and oz/ft2 in PCB industry, we use hps (defined as 550 ft*lb/s) on motors and cars, and we use inches on display size measurement.

Many packaged food products sold in China also have oz or lb in addition to g/kg. We also sometimes use imperial sizes for stock metal cylinders/sheets/bars and screws. Chinese cars also have both mph and kph, just like cars everywhere else in the world.

THG seems to imply that people that live in countries that adopt the metric system are not free to choose otherwise. Although the metric system has been around where I live for more than 150 years, you can buy paint by the gallon, TV screens by the inch and fill tires by the PSI. The only thing is that those units are not legally defined, so the vendor has to provide an equivalent spec in metric somewhere to stay out of trouble. Units out of the SI are therefore deprecated.

On the other hand when it comes to "modern" units of measure like the volt, the watt, the ampere, the ohm, etc. the US is already fully metricated. No one measures the power of an LED in pounds times square feet per cubic second, but in watts, which is short for kg·m²/s³. The bastion of resistance seems to be the "old" measures that deal with length, area, volume, and weight, plus temperature.


 

Offline rstofer

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #41 on: August 01, 2018, 12:54:13 am »
By the way, talking of pre WW2 US cars, anyone remember how Chrysler used LH threaded wheel studs & nuts on the LH side of their cars?

Apparently, it took them a few years to realise that other carmakers weren't dropping wheels higgledy- piggledy, & came back from dreamland.

They had LH threads up until 1975.  I used to do a bit of drag racing in my misspent youth, mostly MOPAR.  All of our cars had LH threads.  Wish I still had the cars!

GM used LH lugnuts on certain models up to '65

https://www.hotrod.com/articles/ccrp-0607-junkyard-crawl-lefthand-lugs/
 

Online tautech

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #42 on: August 01, 2018, 12:55:24 am »
Another thing is the revival of Whitworth threaded bolts, thanks largely to the massive output of these devices in India, which is largely unreconstructed "Imperial".
You'd really wonder why any modern manufacturer would want to use Whitworth.  ::)
Sure for India it comes from the days of British influence but really in this day and age ?  :-//
OK so they cheaped out on needing to update their tooling but that still leaves them using 19th century technology.

Metric is where it's at, coarse, fine and super fine in most thread sizes.

I've used BSW, BSF, UNC, UNF and most of the pipe threads ever made too, I'll keep BSPT but give me metric for everything else thank you.

I suppose if you're bolting pieces of wood together for a pergola or something, it doesn't much matter!

Whitworth & UNC are, to a large extent, compatible, but I've always hated BSF!
Then there are the other delights--- BA, those weird US thread sizes that Tektronix use that don't seem to relate to anything else much, "Lucas threads".
My old 1936 Chev even used special  "General Motors threads" on the front axle!------aaarrrrrggggghhhh!.

By the way, talking of pre WW2 US cars, anyone remember how Chrysler used LH threaded wheel studs & nuts on the LH side of their cars?

Apparently, it took them a few years to realise that other carmakers weren't dropping wheels higgledy- piggledy, & came back from dreamland.
Well trucks use dedicated 'hand' threads to this day.
BA, that's Pome (correct spelling) while your 'obscure' Tek threads are # UNF threads !

Yet my Aussie built 2002 Commodore is a mis-mash of SAE (imperial) and metric threads.  :scared:
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Offline JohnnyMalaria

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #43 on: August 01, 2018, 12:56:45 am »
There's one important date to keep in mind when chastising the US over its units:  July 20, 1969.  We walked on the Moon...

Well, Werner von Braun's German technology (originally designed in metric units) got you to the Moon.  :)

I always cringe a bit when an American brings up the Moon landings as evidence of American superiority, just as I do when an Englishman brings up our 1966 World Cup victory as evidence of Britain's greatness. Both events were in the middle of the last century...

Not only were the 6 landings in the middle of the last century, 49 years later and nobody else has come close.  In my view it was the greatest technical and scientific achievement in history.  Twelve astronauts walked on the surface.  Consider the technology in play at the time.  We have single chip microcontrollers more capable than the Apollo Guidance Computer.  And we darn sure wouldn't have to weave core memory.

As to stealing the German scientists, sure, we steal talent all the time with our O-1 Visa program.

Soccer doesn't resonate in the US.  There is a lot of it going on but it has never been a commercial success.

Yeah, love the blind eye the US turns to the fact that the base technology was developed as a WMD by a genocidal would-be empire (actively fired at London killing many, many civilians) and taken by the US to prove a political and militaristic point in the middle of the cold war.

I'd say Sputnik has had a far greater impact on humanity than Apollo but Americans can't stand that nor that the first person in space was a Soviet.
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Offline JohnnyMalaria

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #44 on: August 01, 2018, 01:04:23 am »
What possible difference can it make to me what units are used in South Africa (or anywhere else)?
It matters very much if you are trading with the rest of the world.

Well, shoot, we are the largest economy in the world.  We don't care how other countries do things.
http://statisticstimes.com/economy/projected-world-gdp-ranking.php

We don't exclude importation of metric products and the rest of the world needs us as a customer more than we need them.  As long as they don't exclude our non-metric products, we'll get along fine.


Why should I buy from a manufacturer so stuck in the past and with its heels dug in so deep? Recall in the 60s and 70s that the US car industry bitched and moaned about how unfair it was that Japan wouldn't import many US cars but the US was merrily importing Japanese cars. The reason - the US manufacturers were too arrogant to adapt to the Japanese market and make right-hand drive versions of their cars whereas Japan manufactured left-hand drive versions for the US market.  :wtf: :palm:
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Offline bsfeechannel

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #45 on: August 01, 2018, 01:05:51 am »
They're ganging up on us and we still don't care.

To the US's detriment, I presume. Because the rest of the world doesn't give a hoot about the system of units the US use. The rest of the world doesn't buy anything significant from the US anymore that involves the units to which the US cling to.

(I was pleasantly surprised to recently find grape juice and Bic permanent markers made in the US in a local store, though.)

Quote
Metric needs a PR firm.  It is considered Euro-centric or, worse, French, and neither of those will sell in the US.

You got that right. The metric system since long ago has not been a French or an Euro thing. In the globally integrated economy we live today, there's no sense having two competing systems of measure.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2018, 02:32:45 am by bsfeechannel »
 

Offline JohnnyMalaria

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #46 on: August 01, 2018, 01:20:49 am »
Most stuff from Harbor Freight has US units.

My 3-axis mill drives me up the freaking wall. I need to machine items in metric. Let's see how easy it is to mill a 10mm square channel. A metric mill would be, say, 1mm per turn and the bits would be 10mm diameter. Finding the corner is trivial. 5mm so 5 turns. Damn, it's so, so simple.

With my US units mill:

10mm = 10/25.4in
Nearest bit = 3/8" which is shy of 10mm so I'll have to make multiple passes.

The index handles are in thousandths of an inch but one turn is 1/16" = 62.5 thou. So if I need to move 400 thou I have to calculate 400/62.5 turns = 6.4 = 6 whole turns + 25 thou.

It was such a simple shape to mill but unbelievably stressful. That's where a 20oz pint is so much better than a 16oz :)

(No, I don't have DRO and cannot justify it)
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Offline rstofer

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #47 on: August 01, 2018, 01:44:18 am »
But you could buy a 10mm end mill.  Locating a center is somewhat dimensionless in the sense that measurements from both sides use the same units regardless of what they are.
 

Offline JohnnyMalaria

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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #48 on: August 01, 2018, 02:18:41 am »
But you could buy a 10mm end mill.  Locating a center is somewhat dimensionless in the sense that measurements from both sides use the same units regardless of what they are.

I could but the headaches come from the 1/16" pitch marked in thous and trying to make things in mm. :scared:
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Re: The History of Metrication
« Reply #49 on: August 01, 2018, 02:39:44 am »
But you could buy a 10mm end mill.  Locating a center is somewhat dimensionless in the sense that measurements from both sides use the same units regardless of what they are.

I could but the headaches come from the 1/16" pitch marked in thous and trying to make things in mm. :scared:
A tip to help get your head around it and for quick calcs:
1mm = ~40 thou.
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