- Imperial measurements – when are they still used
During my apprenticeship I worked with an old boy on the sheet steel. We’d be at either end of a 12ft sheet and he’d shout numbers at me. He would happily switch between metric and imperial depending on what looked best on his tape measure, just not letting me know as he shouted them out. I was then an idiot for not guessing correctly!
He was good to wind up though..Posted 1 week agocrazy-legsSubscriber
Railway industry still has some hangovers of imperial (partly due to the age of some of the rolling stock!)
Chains still just about survive – not for survey work anymore but when railways were built, stations, bridges etc were measured as Miles and Chains from the origin.
You get a number like 84.37 (84 miles and 37 chains) and then a line identifier code.Posted 1 week agohot_fiatSubscriber
From hanging around with my dad, it would appear that the entire petrochemical industry is imperial. Pipework isometrics are all in feet, inches, psi, runes* and beads*. Doesn’t matter if it’s heading to the Norwegian, gulf or USA it’s all backwards wonky divisible by 12 crap for the brain dead & JRM.
*these may be made upPosted 1 week agosomewhatslightlydazedMember
ust remembered another one (for Cougar?) all recurve bow sight mounts are imperial (because of Murica). 10-24 UNC
There’s an archery society near Coventry, formed in 1785 and basically not changed since. All shooting distances are in yards but the handmade targets they use are exactly a metre across. Nobody really knows why.Posted 1 week ago
– Fasteners in Aerospace (bolts for sure and IIRC rivets too) are almost all inches (expressed in mm of course)
– Wheel/tyre bead diameter on cars
– Pipe sizes (although these are pretty confusing in either imperial or metric up to a certain size)
– Distances on UK roads
– Dimensions of blue passports
At a guess, many other things.Posted 1 week agowobbliscottMember
Most things are in metric these days. I’m ambidextrous on it and just prefer imperial in some things and metric in others just because it’s the way I’ve been brought up and just used to certain order of magnitude of numbers for certain things.
Aviation is mostly metric now but there are imperial hangovers for certain things. fittings are still in imperial as it would be too unsafe to change and manage hat change through a global industry. Planes have crashed in the past as a result of confusion over imperial and metric dimensions. But in terms of aircraft design it’s all metric. Even with Boeing.
Can’t see how it matters really. Rose by any other name and all that. Adds to the rich tapestry of life. Uniformity is boring!Posted 1 week agoMoreCashThanDashSubscriber
I use metres and centimetres for work or meaduring things around the house, but everything else I do in imperial – measure rides in miles, weigh myself in stone and pounds, drink pints.
I’m 50, was taught metric in school but day to day at home was imperialPosted 1 week ago
Posted 1 week ago
The Metric System and NASA’s Mars Climate Orbiter
The Mars Climate Orbiter, built at a cost of $125 million, was a 338-kilogram robotic space probe launched by NASA on December 11, 1998 to study the Martian climate, Martian atmosphere, and surface changes. In addition, its function was to act as the communications relay in the Mars Surveyor ‘98 program for the Mars Polar Lander. The navigation team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) used the metric system of millimeters and meters in its calculations, while Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, Colorado, which designed and built the spacecraft, provided crucial acceleration data in the English system of inches, feet, and pounds. JPL engineers did not take into consideration that the units had been converted, i.e., the acceleration readings measured in English units of pound-seconds^2 for a metric measure of force called newton-seconds^2. In a sense, the spacecraft was lost in translation.gonefishinMember
I guess in the UK we still use Imperial where it would be prohibitively expensive to change for relatively little gain. Changing every roadsign in the country, for instance, would be a massive undertaking with little benefit. Most people still think in miles anyway, don’t they (is this still true of younger generations)?
Well I’m mid 40s and the only time I think in miles is when driving a car/motorbike. Every other distance measurement (cycling walking whatever) is metric. Frankly the sooner we finally convert fully to metric the better.
As for pipe sizes you’d do well to remember that they are generally nominal sizes, you’d actually be fairly hard pressed to find an actual dimension that matches the size that is given.Posted 1 week ago
temperature….everyone* uses Celcius when they’re complaining about how cold it is, and Fahrenheit when they’re complaining about how hot it is
You’ve confused “everyone” with “the Daily Express” there. The only time I’ve heard Fahrenheit used by anyone since like the 1970s has been when talking to American friends.Posted 1 week agokayak23Subscriber
Timber is largely bought in imperial. A lot of that is because so much is imported from imperial speaking countries.
From your builders merchants ‘3be2’ and ‘2be1’ to volume pricing in cubic feet. Metric is creeping in but it’s much easier to say it in imperial sometimes. Much less easy to use imperial in reality though.
I’ll normally ask the timber merchant for a 2 inch board, at 250 millimetres wide and 2 metres long. 😂
When I was the technician at a college I would get young adults, 17 years old or so come and ask me if I could cut them some strips of wood or something 1 inch wide.
Why those so young still use imperial I don’t know..Posted 1 week ago
As for pipe sizes you’d do well to remember that they are generally nominal sizes, you’d actually be fairly hard pressed to find an actual dimension that matches the size that is given.
Well now you’ve got me started…
Up to 12″, pipe sizes are based on what would many years ago have been a typical wall thickness giving the nominal internal diameter. 14″ and above it is the actual pipe size. The sizes do not and have never matched their nominal metric sizes.
Nearly all offshore installations use American piping codes which are all in imperial (they have metric values for a lot of things, but given for information only, you have to refer to the imperial sections for the verified data).
Oh and another thing – gear inches are the standard in the UK for bicycle gear ratios, rather than the metric equivalent (which I think is mm developed per revolution, so not a straight 25.4 multiplier)Posted 1 week agoPJM1974Member
My father was in the aircraft industry in the 60s – designing bits Victor bombers, Lightnings, TSR2 etc. He’s a Telegraph reading rabid Brexiteer, but he’s never complained about having to work in metric for Concorde.
As for JRM, he’s a phoney anachronism, he couldn’t be less authentic if he were bought from AliExpress. I couldn’t give a **** whether he wants imperial measurements or not, I prefer a system that actually makes intuitive sense. In fact, if my cosmopolitan approach to units of measurement get up his nose then I am perfectly happy to do so, just because.Posted 1 week ago
just remembered another one (for Cougar?) all recurve bow sight mounts are imperial (because of Murica). 10-24 UNC
Yeah, someone else mentioned bows on the previous page. I guess that’s another standards thing, there’s a lot more bows in the US than here (you can buy them in Wal-Mart along with a US gallon of milk). Metrification wouldn’t gain anything and it’d just cause compatibility issues.
I’m assuming draw weight is still pretty universally Imperial too? My bow is 38@28 which is 38lbs at a draw of 28″. I’ve never heard of anyone shooting 17.24kg @ 712mm…Posted 1 week agowhitestoneMember
Forgot one. The pins on integrated circuits (not surface mount obvs) are 1/10″ spacing.
There was a plane forced to do an emergency landing because it should have been filled with 20,000 kilograms of fuel but the ground crew loaded 20,000 pounds. I think it was in Canada when they switched to metric in the late 1970s.Posted 1 week ago
I’m assuming draw weight is still pretty universally Imperial too? My bow is 38@28 which is 38lbs at a draw of 28″. I’ve never heard of anyone shooting 17.24kg @ 712mm…
Just reminded me, spring rates are usually imperial on bikes too, again merkins did it and ran away.Posted 1 week ago
I’ll normally ask the timber merchant for a 2 inch board, at 250 millimetres wide and 2 metres long. 😂
And AIUI your “3 by 2” inch measurements are as cut, not allowing for shrinkage as it dries. So your metric measurements are probably accurate but your “two inch board” is going to be like an inch and a half or something. (I am not a timberist so could be wrong)Posted 1 week agowhitestoneMember
@tomd – the KCal to KJoule conversion is actually quite useful. There’s just over 4J per calorie and the human body is for most people somewhere around 22-23% efficient. So if you consume 500KCal of food then you get about 500Kj of work from it. The rest is used to maintain body temperature and think up witty ripostes for internet forums.
There’s another odd conversion/equivalence that we used on the farm. An animal (cow or sheep) that weighs X kilos will typically yield X pounds of meat.Posted 1 week agoavdave2Member
There’s an archery society near Coventry, formed in 1785 and basically not changed since. All shooting distances are in yards but the handmade targets they use are exactly a metre across. Nobody really knows why.
because the best target for archery is traditionally French. 😊Posted 1 week agoScapegoatSubscriber
Firearms calibres are an interesting one. For example 12 gauge shotguns are based on the number of lead balls of that diameter that would make one pound. So a 12 bore, 20 bore, 28 bore and so on, getting progressively smaller. Until you reach .410. Which is .410 of an inch. A typical punt gun used to throw half pound balls of lead so was known as a half-pound gun.
There’s now an interesting admixture of calibres, which could become bewildering. A .22 rimfire round measures .223″ in diameter, but a centrefire .223 actually measures .224″. As does a .222 or 22-250. A .243″ round is actually .244″, and is otherwise known as a 6×52.(bullet diameter x case length) The metric measurement is actually 6.2mm. But that’s OK, ‘cos people buying .243 bullets call them 6mm.
Next up is the good old 25-06. Which is a .25″ bullet thrown from a 30-06 case. The bullet itself actually measures .257″ Which is 6.5mm. The 30-06 case made by Springfield was necked down to take the smaller bullet, and throw it faster than the .30 calibre round it originally was designed for. Now it gets interesting. The .30 calibre round actually measures .308″, but some versions of the calibre are called by the metric name of 7.62mm. Which actually measure 7.82mm.
Winchester developed another round, the .270. Which is .277″, also known as a 7mm. Except a 7mm bullet in a 7mm 08 cartridge is actually .284″
I could go on, until those clever Swedes developed a 6.5mm round. You’d think they’d have nailed it with their clever metric nonsense, but no, they obviously buggered it up as well, ‘cos the 6.5mm round actually measured .2644″, or 6.72mm.
Add to that international cartridge case standards mostly measured in inches, and virtually all reloading manuals listing powder weights in imperial, and you’ll understand why my calipers are set to imperial, and the scales set to grains.Posted 1 week agoTwodogsSubscriber
You’ve confused “everyone” with “the Daily Express” there. The only time I’ve heard Fahrenheit used by anyone since like the 1970s has been when talking to American friends
seriously? it happens all the time on mainstream media (BBC included)…they say “it’s going to be 30C…that’s 86F (or whatever it is)”.Posted 1 week ago
I can’t relate to temperatures in Fahrenheit either…it means nothing to meScapegoatSubscriber
Next up angles and bullet drop. IN the UK most firing ranges are measured in yards. This helps those of us that shoot targets at different ranges, as my sights are designed to adjust in Minutes Of Angle (MOA), or 360th’s of a degree . A bullet that would hit the aiming mark at 100 yards will drop by a predictable amount at 200, 300 or 500 yards. The drop can be predicted/measured in MOA as long as the range intervals are also measured in yards, as a drop of one inch at 100 yards is one MOA. A drop of 2 inches at 200 yards is also one MOA, as is a drop of 3 inches at 300 and at 500 yards one MOA drop is 5 inches.
So if I know my bullet will drop 2 inches at 200, I need to adjust my sights to shoot one MOA higher. At 300 yards it will drop, say 9 inches, I need to increase sight elevation by 3 MOA, and so on.
Those damned continentals with their fancy metric nonsense use a similar system of Milliradians (also known as Mils or Mrads) which are great on a metric firing range, but require complex formulae to work out adjustments on a an imperial one. It’s no good knowing how many centimetres one mrad will shift aim at 1000 metres, if you’re actually shooting at 1000 yards. Unless you take your shoes and socks off.Posted 1 week ago
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