Ancient Measurements => Lines

Michael Schmitt m.schmitt at UNI-BONN.DE
Thu Oct 7 09:53:46 CDT 2004

Dear colleagues,

At 20:46 06.10.2004, Christian Thompson wrote:
>In the early literature, at least for insects (Entomology), many
>european authors gave measurements in LINES (lignes in French), but
>there seems to be confuse about whether this was a uniform standard
>across European countries and what a line is equal to.

In a German "Lexikon der Mass- und Waehrungseinheiten" (Encyclopedia of
measurement and currency units. By Lutz Adron, Praesentverlag Heinz Peter,
Guetersloh 1987) I found on p. 123: Paris 2.2558 mm, Rhineland (Germany)
2.179 mm, Vienna (Austria) 2.195 mm, England and Russia 2.116 mm.

In addition, I found in Wolfgang Trapp "Kleines Handbuch der Masse, Zahlen,
Gewichte und der Zeitrechnung" (Small handbook of measurements, numbers,
weights and calendars. Philip Reclam jun., Stuttgart 1992) on p. 229f. that
one Parisian foot (Pied de Roi) was 32.47325 cm long in the 18th century,
32.48394 in the 19th, and that the latter was the "official" length (the
22nd part of a Perche Royale) and comprised 144 Lines, resulting in
2.255829 mm.

These figures do certainly not clear the mess but rather proof it.


* Prof.Dr. Michael Schmitt (Zoologischer Anzeiger, Editor-in-   *
* Chief; Bonner zoologische Beitraege, Editor-in-Chief)         *
* Zoologisches Forschungsinstitut und Museum Alexander Koenig   *
* Adenauerallee 160, D-53113 Bonn, Germany                      *
* Phone/Fax: +49 228-9122 286, e-mail: m.schmitt at    *
*           *

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