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“Illegitimi Non Carborundum”
Last Updated: 11/21/2017  12:21
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. While at the beginning of the Civil War the most often observed dimension between rails was 4’ 8.5”, there were more than 20 other different gauges ranging from 3 to 6 feet in use.1 Congress would soon afterward settle on a “standard” dimension of 4’ 8.5” to be observed during construction of all transcontinental railways.  The next questions one might consider are “what is an inch, a foot, a pound, a roentgen, a kHz?” OK…one can get carried away with this train of thought…and ask themselves “What is a pound, a kilo…and what does it all mean?  If you study Metrology, the art and science of weights and measures, along with the evolution of standard definitions for each entity 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   measurement   standards   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   (today    known    as    NIST)    in    1901    to    address    scientist’s    and industrialist’s     needs     to     have     an     authoritative     source     of       standards   for   electricity,   length,   mass,   temperature,   light,   and time,   accompanied   by   a   system   whereby   these   standards   could be transferred 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   dimensional   “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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PMEL.ORG
“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.    While    at    the beginning   of   the   Civil   War   the   most   often   observed   dimension between    rails    was    4’    8.5”,    there    were    more    than    20    other different    gauges    ranging    from    3    to    6    feet    in    use. 1 Congress would   soon   afterward   settle   on   a   “standard”   dimension   of   4’   8.5” to    be    observed    during    construction    of    all    transcontinental railways. 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   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   measurement   standards   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   (today    known    as    NIST)    in    1901    to    address    scientist’s    and industrialist’s     needs     to     have     an     authoritative     source     of       standards   for   electricity,   length,   mass,   temperature,   light,   and time,   accompanied   by   a   system   whereby   these   standards   could be transferred 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   dimensional   “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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