Metrication Resources

Our Crumbling Invisible Infrastructure

For the 10th Anniversary of the Metric Maven Website, essays considered the most essential for a person to read, posted over that time, have been collected into a single monograph.

The essay collection may be viewed and downloaded using this link:

Essential Essays By the Metric Maven

The Dimensions of The Cosmos

The Dimensions of The Cosmos Tales from Sixteen Metric Worlds has been published by Randy Bancroft (aka The Metric Maven).  The book divides the cosmos using 16 metric prefixes into metric “worlds” such as Megaworld, Gigaworld, Picoworld, Nanoworld and so on. The 2nd Edition of the book is being released one chapter at at time, every other month on this website. Below is a description of the contents:

Originally, our world was described using a plethora of provincial ad hoc measurement units only of everyday dimensions. The US inch was initially defined as the length of three barleycorn placed end-to-end, and is the current basis of US shoe sizes. The invention of the microscope and telescope in the 17th century revealed unimagined new macroscopic and microscopic worlds. The Dimensions of the Cosmos takes the reader on a tour of these hidden worlds with the only measurement system designed to intuitively describe them, the modern metric system. From metric worlds that describe atoms, viruses, bacteria, quantum dots, and pollen to those which describe planets, solar systems, stars, galaxies and the universe itself, the reader moves from Yoctoworld through Yottaworld. The sizes and stories of these objects are related so the reader experiences the immense diversity and wonder found in our current understanding of the natural world.

Metric Maven Nerd Nite Talk

Nerd Nite #5 Metric System Lecture 2014-09-25

Pat Naughtin’s Legacy

The late Pat Naughtin was a tireless promoter of the metric system in Australia. He explored the most efficient and elegant use of the metric system. His obituary in The Age, states:

Such was the expertise Naughtin built up on metrication that the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology described him as “the leading expert on the subject in the world.”

Below are some of Pat’s very useful writings and lectures.

Pat bequeathed his Metrication Leader’s Guide to the public domain following his death.

Metrication Leaders Guide 2009 – Pat Naughtin

Pat recommended using millimeters over centimeters (as does The Metric Maven).

Centimeters or Millimeters?

He also wrote about the costs associated with not using The Metric System in the US

The Cost of Non-Metrication in The United States

Pat also argued for the Whole Number Rule which he articulates here:

The Whole Number Rule

Pat Naughtin Lecture Links:

Google Lecture 2007-08-07 – Video

TEDxMelbourne 2010-03-13 -Video

Metrication In Australia

The book Metrication in Australia provides a unique overview of how the metric system was successfully introduced into Australia. It was written by Kevin Joseph Wilks and was published by the Australian Government. An introductory essay about the book may be found here. Below the graphic is a link to a PDF of the book for download.


Death By 1000 Cuts Full Monograph 2020-06-05

Metric Items

Millimeter only metric rulers: The best US source of millimeter only metric rulers, in my view, is Shinwa USA. They offer 150 mm, 300 mm, 600 mm and 1000 mm rules. Their website is here the metric rulers are here.

Front of Shinwa H-101A 150 mm Ruler -- click to enlarge
Front of Shinwa H-101A 150 mm Ruler

Starrett also makes some millimeter-only steel rules. Their series designations are C330, C635, and C637.

Products Engineering Corporation also offers millimeter-only rules.

Plastic Low Cost Millimeter only Rulers are available to schools from Flinn Scientific:

Flinn Scientific Ruler — AP5391

They are also available for sale to the general public from Ward’s Science +

Millimeter only tape measure: The True 32 Tape Measure (blue) is the only known domestically available tape measure with millimeter only graduations. It also has some inch graduations for stud placement in the center of the tape, but is the best available in the United States. They may be found here. There is a new flat version, Fastcap PMMR-FLAT16 Flatback 16 PMMR ProCarpenter measuring tape with metric graduations that is for sale on Amazon.

Millimeter only adhesive backed rules: These are useful for making measuring tapes for sewing. The mm only rule may be adhered to a “silk” ribbon for this purpose. The adhesive backed rules are made to place on benches. These adhesive mm only rules may be found here in white only.

3 thoughts on “Metrication Resources

  1. I’ve been saying this for a long time about the same cotoniidn with US manufacturing, but nobody wants to hear it. The US (and the UK) could have completed metrication 25 years ago if they would have kept their manufacturing base as manufacturing is where the greatest exposure to measurements are.Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were responsible for both dissolving the metric boards and at the very same time opened the doors for manufacturing to leave the country. For the US, the high paying manufacturing jobs went to Mexico and other local, low wage countries, then much later to China and India.The products made by the companies that moved did metricate, but it was not seen by the US or UK worker. The consumer now buys metric products made elsewhere, but is often unaware as the products are labeled with imperial or USC dimensions. Except one often sees huge cartons with shipping dimensions, volumes and weights in metric units.Computers is one example of an industry that started out in the US all inch based but is fully metric now that the new designs and products are coming out of Asia. Products like monitors and printers are designed and made to metric specifications, even if they carry inch trade names. Names that rarely reflect a true dimension.

    • After having guraadted in Physics from the University of Natal (South Africa) in 1970, I did a post-graduate course in the e2€œTheory and Practice of Automatic Controle2€? at UMIST in 1974/5. My dissertation centred around the dynamics of a rectangular container that was designed to be 3 ft high, 2 ft long and 1 ft deep. When I announced to my supervisor that I would be doing my dissertation in SI units, his reaction was that I e2€œmaye2€? use SI units. I sensed that he had been dreading that particular day.What was of particular concern that by 1974, UMIST, one of Britaine2€™s leading technology institutes had not embraced SI. Could it have been the e2€œtechnological drage2€? since many of the Departmente2€™s project and much of their funding came from British heavy industry?

  2. Pingback: The Invisible Metric Embargo | The Metric Maven

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