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Items for sale with "imperial" dimensions


Loved that gingle, it was a on Wednesday 14th February 1966, year 4 high school , picked up my first decimal coins. Collected the old imperial currency coins for many years after. I have a nice collection that will pass on to future generation. It felt like the start of something new, science was taught in SI unit, other subjects, taught in the clunky imperial units. Great day Australia.


The UK uses miles on their roads, yet sell fuel in litres. Vehicle fuel economy is quoted as mpg, miles per gallon. Hang on that should be miles per litre, as you can’t buy a gallon of fuel. No wonder Brexit. I’m confused writing this comment.


This one?



Ha ha - I was totally confused driving a rental on holiday in the UK as I could never work out if fuel was over or underpriced. I found it quaint that milestones still existed which was kind of nice, but I guess I’m just an old guy clinging to the past.


Currency went decimal in Feb 1966, the last of the measurements converted from imperial to metric in 1974.

In reality, metric became legal form of measurement in Australia in 1947, but it took another 27 years to full transition from the imperials to metrics. This demonstrates how hard it was to kill off old habits.


By the end of 1976, all packaged goods were required to be labelled in metric sizes, and the following were also converted to metric: the air transport industry, food energy, petrol pumps, machine tools, electronic and electrical engineering appliance manufacturing.

The Metric Conversion Board was dissolved in 1981.


That’s the one!! It was just starting to fade from my memory … you’ve just re-kindled it for another 50 years … which I don’t have. You tube has a lot to answer for, but I must admit that was an interesting little journey backwards into time. Now I feel somewhat older! I must show my grand-kids … who will be totally absorbed for almost a millisecond.[quote=“TheBBG, post:47, topic:15276”]
I can still hear that annoying jingle ringing

This one?


If we start in 1947 it is not 27 years, it is ~71 and counting.

was? is! or we would not have this thread.

Quitters! Too bad they did not finish their job to a top standard.



I feel that they may have dragged the implementation/transition on to keep themselves in a job. Can’t believe that it was 5 years after mandatory labelling it was disbanded they shut up shop (in the private sector, there would have been pats on the back way back in 1976, at the latest. I suppose things in government move at snails pace.


There’s just something about miles - if you ride a super-sport bike, the speed to beat has always been 200 … 322 km/h just doesn’t sound the same, but when relating any rides to older parents, metres per second is handy, because saying you only hit about 89 sounds a lot safer (somehow they know they are ‘being had’ though) …


Sorry, yes, you’re right. Somebody must have rubbed yellow tape over my brain.


Regarding timber sizes, of course that table that was quoted is wrong. You specify the larger dimension first. So it’s not a 2 x 4, it’s a 4 x 2…

For a serious reply to the “truth in sizes”, the ‘nominal’ size is the sawn size of the timber, and sawn timber has of course rather rough surfaces – certainly far too much so for any cabinetry-work. So the timber is dressed before use – ie all the ‘roughnesses’ are removed. In the process the dimensions are necessarily reduced somewhat, and it is these reduced dimensions that give the ‘actual’ sizes shown.

And this is just as true of hardwoods as it is of softwoods, despite the table’s title.


Hh’mmm… A hectare. That’s roughly two-and-a-half acres, isn’t it?


1966 was when the currency started to go metric. Nothing else was changed for quite a while after that. (1974 could well be right.)

I’m old enough to have completed my engineering course in imperial measurements, and with a slide rule.

I like the fact that I could visualise, say, what a pound of butter looked like. And I could visualise a square that was one inch on each side. So I could equally easily visualise a pressure of one pound per square inch; or a hundred pounds; or 5000 lbs (which was the strength of a very good high-strength concrete). Pressure in psi is still what you use to put air in your car tyres. I suppose one could learn to visualise a kilogram of butter and a square that was a metre on each side, and hence a pressure of so many kilograms a square metre. But who uses that measurement? Absolutely no-one, because they give it some fancy french name like a hectopascal or something – meaningless.

And the days when you put a gallon of petrol in your tank and the gallon allowed the car to go so many miles. Easy to see and understand, and gave small enough figures to remember and compare. If, on going metric, they’d changed it to km/litre I could have got used to it. But no, that would have been too simple. They used the reciprocal of that, and then discovered that it gave them such a small number they found it was meaningless, so they multiplied it by a hundred. And now we’re supposed to measure fuel consumption in litres per a hundred kilometres. What a crazy, ass-backwards thing to do.

So referring back to the TV screen, why not a 36" = 3’ = 1 yard screen? Would you rather have a 914.4 millimetre one?


The table that was quoted is US centric as I noted in a follow-on post. The US convention is indeed a 2x4 not a 4x2, and all as shown in the table. The table is not wrong, it is ‘exceptional’ per the US :wink:


Oh, of course. But the topic is about metric vs imperial sizes in this country, for where the table’s wrong. (It’s obviously from the US if only from the fact that it refers to “lumber”.

My original quote was tongue-in-cheek, by the way.)


2.4710538146717 acres. It’s easy - not! LOL


I am not handy with anything wood and it has been quite a few years since I paid attention to the few pieces I bought - fencing and such where the sizes did not matter much.

This thread has been quite educational; at 16+ years on this side of the pond I had not noticed many of the points that have been highlighted, not even the different conventions (eg 2x4 vs 4x2) between the US and AU.

+1 for the value of the .community :slight_smile:


As someone brought up with the Imperial system, I have spent years trying to envisage how tall someone is who is so-and-so metres tall (I could never recognised an escaped convict so described by the police, for instance–not that I’ve had that experience), etc. What I wish is that all measurements were in both metric and imperial!


I think it’s just anti-British pigheadedness. Since the 1970s American companies dealing globally have been including both sets of measurements on their sales literature. interestingly, because of the U.S.A. friendship with France (which helped them eject the Brits), President Jefferson was on the point of pushing the metric standard legislation through congress when the Indian wars started and it got lost in the chaos.


Even better in the US is the completely mixed units. Even after living there for 8 years, plus 2 years of consulting travel, and married to an American lady, it still does my head in. As others have noted, the whole “ounce” thing is amazingly…weird. But it gets even better when it comes to liquids. You buy most drinks in ounce sizes (that’s where Starbucks’ Venti comes from - 20Oz), but when you buy softdrink in bottles you buy it by the liter and not ounce…

The only place that makes sense for imperial for me is in aviation (and somewhat from the marine world). Feet, knots, nautical miles, all make calcs much easier when flying. Almost all the aviation world is based on it, so it would be a quite a task to make the change. Only exception is when it comes to maintenance. Even the US-based aircraft have a maddening mixture of metric and imperial fittings and nuts & bolts.