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“Illegitimi Non Carborundum”
Last Updated: 09/15/2017  04:45
When considering the distance between two adjacent rails used by either passenger or freight trains upon which they travel from point A to point B, you might conclude that by necessity there exists a single, standard definition for this dimension to be followed by all railroad lines operating in the USA, a “Standard” dimension. You would be wrong. At the beginning of the Civil War there were more than 20 different gauges ranging from 3 to 6 feet, although the 4-foot eight-and-a-half inch distance between rails was the most often used dimension.1 Congress would soon settle on a “standard” to be observed during construction of all transcontinental railways to be 4’ 8.5”.  The next questions one might consider are “what is an inch, a foot?” OK…one can get carried away with this train of thought…and ask themselves “What is a pound, a kilo…and what does that mean?  If you study metrology, the art and science of weights and measures, along with the evolution of standard definitions for each entity being considered to be observed by all, you will soon have the answers to each of these, and hundreds more, derivations and definitions of weights and measures.
Metrology,   the   scientific   study   of   measurements   having   origins   in   the   early   19th   century,   formed   from   the   Greek metron ‘measure’ + -logy.

METROLOGY

But   wait!   Depending   upon   your   fields   of   endeavor…you   certainly may   be   interested   in   measurements   outside   the   realm   of   just weights!    How    about    Radio    Frequencies,    Time,    Dimensions, Pressures,        Stress,        Flatness,        Voltage        and        Currents, Resistance…just   a   small   sampling   of   items   the   values   of   which are all considered by Metrologists around the world. The   United   States   established   the   National   Bureau   of   Standards   (known    as    NIST    today)    in    1901    to    address    scientists    and industrialists      needs      to      have      an      authoritative      domestic measurement   and   standards   laboratory   providing   standards   for electricity,    length,    mass,    temperature,    light,    and    time,    and created   a   system   whereby   they   could   transfer   those   standard values to the public. Uncertainty    plagued    U.    S.    markets    at    the    turn    of    the    20th century.    There    were    at    least    eight    different    definitions    of    a gallon,   and   four   different   definitions   for   a   “foot”   in   use   at   the time.    The    NBS    convened    the    first    National    Conference    on Weights   and   Measures    to   write   model   laws,   distribute   uniform standards,   and   provide   training   for   inspectors   which   heretofore had      been      poorly      trained      and      working      with      outmoded equipment. ( Continued )  
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“Illegitimi Non Carborundum”

METROLOGY

PMEL.ORG
Metrology,    the    scientific    study    of    measurements having    origins    in    the    early    19th    century,    formed from the Greek metron ‘measure’ + -logy.

When  

considering  

the  

distance  

between  

two  

adjacent  

rails  

used

by  

either  

passenger  

or  

freight  

trains  

upon  

which  

they  

travel  

from

point  

A  

to  

point  

B,  

you  

might  

conclude  

that  

by  

necessity  

there

exists   

a   

single,   

standard   

definition   

for   

this   

dimension   

to   

be

followed  

by  

all  

railroad  

lines  

operating  

in  

the  

USA,  

a  

“Standard”

dimension.  

You  

would  

be  

wrong.  

At  

the  

beginning  

of  

the  

Civil

War  

there  

were  

more  

than  

20  

different  

gauges  

ranging  

from  

3  

to

6   

feet,   

although   

the   

4-foot   

eight-and-a-half   

inch   

distance

between   

rails   

was   

the   

most   

often   

used   

dimension.

1

   

Congress

would  

soon  

settle  

on  

a  

“standard”  

observed  

during  

construction

of all transcontinental railways to be 4’ 8.5” between rails.

The  

next  

questions  

one  

might  

consider  

are  

“what  

is  

an  

inch,  

a

foot?”    

OK…one    

can    

get    

carried    

away    

with    

this    

train    

of

thought…and  

ask  

themselves  

“What  

is  

a  

pound,  

a  

kilo…and  

what

does that mean?

If   

you   

study   

Metrology,   

the   

art   

and   

science   

of   

weights   

and

measurements,  

along  

with  

the  

evolution  

of  

standard  

definitions

for  

each  

entity  

being  

considered  

to  

be  

observed  

by  

all,  

you  

will

soon  

have  

the  

answers  

to  

each  

of  

these,  

and  

hundreds  

more,

derivations and definitions of weights and measures.

But  

wait!  

Depending  

upon  

your  

fields  

of  

endeavor…you  

certainly

may  

be  

interested  

in  

measurements  

outside  

the  

realm  

of  

just

weights!    

How    

about    

Radio    

Frequencies,    

Time,    

Dimensions,

Pressures,  

Stress,  

Flatness,  

Voltage  

and  

Currents,  

Resistance…just  

a

small  

sampling  

of  

items  

the  

values  

of  

which  

are  

all  

considered  

by

Metrologists around the world.

The  

United  

States  

established  

the  

National  

Bureau  

of  

Standards

(known   

as   

NIST   

today)   

in   

1901   

to   

address   

scientists   

and

industrialists     

needs     

to     

have     

an     

authoritative     

domestic

measurement  

and  

standards  

laboratory  

providing  

standards  

for

electricity,  

length,  

mass,  

temperature,  

light,  

and  

time,  

and  

created

a  

system  

whereby  

they  

could  

transfer  

those  

standard  

values  

to

the public.

Uncertainty   

plagued   

U.   

S.   

markets   

at   

the   

turn   

of   

the   

20th

century.  

There  

were  

at  

least  

eight  

different  

definitions  

of  

a  

gallon,

and  

four  

different  

definitions  

for  

a  

“foot”  

in  

use  

at  

the  

time.  

The

NBS   

convened   

the   

first   

National   

Conference   

on   

Weights   

and

Measures  

to  

write  

model  

laws,  

distribute  

uniform  

standards,  

and

provide  

training  

for  

inspectors  

which  

heretofore  

had  

been  

poorly

trained and working with outmoded equipment.  (

Continued

)

1

 

https://www.truthorfiction.com/railwidth/

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