hist-brewing: RE: French measurements

Crystal Isaac xtal at sigenetics.com
Mon May 1 12:41:06 PDT 2000

I really recommend the following book. Check your local university for a

in service,
Crystal of the Westermark

Quotes from _French Weights and Measures before the Revolution: A Dictionary
of Provincial and Local Units_. by Zupko, Ronald Edward. Published by
Indiana University Press. Bloomington & London, 1978. (words in all caps
denote cross-reference items)

Page 43 - Chopine - Used in the 14th - 17th centuries
“A m-c for liquids throughout France, synonymous with the SETIER, equal to
the 1/2 PINTE and containing 23.475cu Parisian POUCES or 2 DEMI- SETIERS, 4

Page 97 Livre
“During the late eighth century the “livre esterlin” was fixed at 5760
grains (367.1g) and consisted of 20 SOUS or 12 ONCES or 240 DENIERS or 480
OBOLES. The livre was the first national standard and it was retained until
the middle of the fourteenth century when the government of King John the
Good authorized the new heavier livre called the “livre poids de marc” or
the “livre de Paris.” Totaling 9216 grains (489.506g), it was subdivided in
two different ways: for valuable goods such as gold or silver it consisted
of 2 MARCS or 16 ONCES or 128 GROS or 384 deniers or 221,184 PRIMES, while
for cheaper commodities it was 2 DEMI-LIVRES or 4 QUARERONS... or 16 onces
or 32 demi-onces.

Page 122 Once  - Used in the 12th - 20th centuries
“A wt constituting the principle subdivision of the Livre: (1) the “once
esterlin” of Charlemange contained 20 DENIERS esterlin or 40 OBOLES esterlin
or 480 GRAINS esterlin and equaled 1/12 livre de Charlemange. (2) the “once
poids de marc” contained 8 GROS or DRACHMES or 24 SCRUPLES or deniers or 576
grains (30.594g)...and was equal to 1/8 MARC and 1/16 livre.”

Page 136 - Pinte - Used in the 13th - 20th centuries
“A m-c for liquids employed principally at Paris where it originated as a
container or vase holding 2 LIVERS or liquids, mainly wine or liquor. From
at least the thirteenth century it was equal to 1/8 VELTE or 1/2 POT or

Pages 165-6
Setier  - Used in the 12th - 17th centuries
“A m-c for liquids and dry products. In Paris the wine setier (also known as
a VELTE) contained 375.6 cu POUCES (7.45l) or 4 QUARTS or 8 PINTES or 16
CHOPINES.... For most dry products the setier contained 2 MINES

Crystal A. Isaac
“Symptoms of "Pathological Science"
1. The maximum effect that is observed is produced by a causative agent of
barely detectable intensity, and the magnitude of the effect is
substantially independent of the intensity of the cause.
2. The effect is of a magnitude that remains close to the limit of
detectability, or many measurements are necessary because of the very low
statistical significance of the results.
3. There are claims of great accuracy.
4. Fantastic theories contrary to experience are suggested.
5. Criticisms are met by ad hoc excuses thought up on the spur of the
6. The ratio of supporters to critics rises up to somewhere near 50% and
then falls gradually into oblivion.”
>From a lecture by Irving Langmuir, in 1953. Transcript published in Physics
Today, October 1989.

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-hist-brewing at rt.com [mailto:owner-hist-brewing at rt.com]On
Behalf Of bjm10 at cornell.edu
Sent: Monday, May 01, 2000 11:05 AM
To: hist-brewing at pbm.com
Subject: RE: hist-brewing: cultural brews?

Related to me directly by Dr. Friedman:  His work with French manuscripts
underwent a bit of a change when he discovered that some French gallons
(and the quarts, pints, etc. based on them) were roughly twice the volume
of the US gallon...

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