Thursday, 1 May 2008

The New Inch

New Inch

Monday, Feb. 28, 1938

Not yet has the New Deal devalued the inch. The House Committee on Coinage, Weights and Measures now has before it a bill to shorten the inch by .00005 millimetres. Since the U. S. inch is denned as 25.40005 millimetres and the British inch is defined as 25.39996 millimetres, the object is to establish uniformity by meeting the British halfway: that is, by making the inch an even 25.4 millimetres which would also key it in with the metric system.

Last week Director Lyman J. Briggs of the Bureau of Standards called the difference between the British inch and the U. S. inch "intolerable." The new standard will reduce the inch by 1/508,001 of its present length. Pointing out that the most precise industrial measurements (of wrist pins for piston rods, etc.) are accurate only within one ten-thousandth of an inch, Director Briggs said: "Industry from a practical standpoint will not realize that a change has been made because the change is too small." Not discussed was the effect of a shortened inch on longer measurements: A mile would be approximately 1/8 inch shorter, the U. S. would measure 31 feet 2 inches wider.

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