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Measurements on Hârn

By Jim O'Neil

Most measures are imprecise at best, many rely on body parts that change with every individual. The standard is a grown man of 'average' size, although the Guilds have been pressuring to bring more uniformity. Typical are:

The Thumb (width) measured at the base of the nail. There are about 12 thumbs to a foot.

The hand, a measurement from outside of the thumb to the opposite side of the hand, most often used for horses, but not necessarily limited to that. About 4 thumbs.

The Span, the distance from thumb tip to little finger tip with the hand spread out as far as possible, roughly two hands or 8 thumbs.

The Foot, normally a mans foot, so women have to adjust, is about three hands long.

The pace is a normal walking step. There are three feet to the pace, which is the normal long distance measuring method. A pace is a span or so smaller than a yard.

A yard is the distance from tip of nose to the end of the out stretched hands finger tips. It is used for measuring cloth, lumber and similar moderate sized items where some exactness and uniformity is needed. Normally certain people are used for consistency's sake, and this is a fairly regular measurement. many guilds have "official" Yard sticks.

A Fathom is the distance from one out stretched finger tip to the other, with both arms out to the side at shoulder height. Often used for rope, and depth measurements made with rope. It is also defined as two Yards.

A league is defined as 5,000 paces. Often the people doing the pacing are practiced hikers and the normal man will find the "league" to be several hundred paces longer than 5,000, as he counts his steps. Sometimes it is useful to know what your pace count per league is.

Weights are measured in pounds, ounces and various adjustments from these.

A pound is defined by the Mangai to be a certain weight. Small Stones are trimmed to this weight and sent to the various Cities as a standard from which other weights may be judged. It is becoming common to use metal weights for these, but the stones are still the official measurement.

  • A Stone is 14 pounds.
  • A Quarter is two stone.
  • A hundred Weight is four Quarters.
  • A Ton is 20 hundredweight
  • Smaller weights are the grain, the weight of one grain of wheat.
  • The pennyweight, or dram, is about 25 grains. It is the legal weight of a silver penny
  • The Ounce is 16 pennyweights/Drams and there are 16 ounces to the pound.

Volumetric measure is a bit more complex. The Pint is to weigh one pound. the variation in weights of various commodities made it normal to define the pint as that volume used to hold one pound of water. This now a standard set by the Mangai, and most guild halls that deal with volumetric measure will have a "standard" pint with which to maintain commonality.

  • 2 Pints are a Quart
  • Four Quarts are a Gallon
  • 10 gallons are a Pony Keg (about 80 pounds).
  • 50 gallons are a hogshead (about 400 pounds).
  • 5 hogsheads are a tun (about 2,000 pounds)

Note that the weight of the contents is what's important, so the weight of the keg is not considered. a Tun of beer or wine will weigh very close to 20 hundred weight (2240 pounds), making everything work out.

The standard period of time is the watch. There are 6 watches per day, nominally 3 day watches (morning, midday and afternoon) and three night watches (Evening, Midnight and After midnight). Each watch is composed of 4 hours, although these are not easily measured, so terms like early in the watch, or about mid-watch are frequently used. Minutes are known, and defined as 60 counts (1 and 20, 2 and 20 etc. until 13 is reached, then just straight counting to 60). Counting more than a minute or two is most unusual, although the mathematicians have defined the hour as 60 minutes, but this is not widely known or cared about.