The Curious History of Weights & Measures

SKU: BODS-101486

How long is an ell? What is the largest size of champagne bottle?

How do you measure the heat of a chilli pepper? Why is the depth of water measured in fathoms? And what is a cubit?

The Curious History of Weights & Measures tells the story of how we have come to quantify the world around us. Looking at everything from carats, pecks and pennyweights to firkins and baker’s dozens through to modern science-based standards such as kilograms and kilometres, this book considers both what sparked the creation of myriad measures and why there were so many efforts to usher in standardisation.

Full of handy conversion charts and beautiful illustrations

The Curious History of Weights & Measures is a treasure trove of fun facts and intriguing stories about the calculations we use every day.


Claire Cock-Starkey is a writer and editor. Recent books include Hyphens and Hashtags (2021) A Museum Miscellany (2019) and The Real McCoy and 149 Other Eponyms (2018).


  • Hardback
  • ISBN: 9781851245796
  • 200 pages 242 x 190 mm
  • 24 black & white illustrations
  • Published February 2023

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