Markets and Measurements in Nineteenth-Century Britain
Cambridge University Press, Jun 25, 2012 - Business & Economics - 274 pages
Measurements are a central institutional component of markets and economic exchange. By the nineteenth century, the measurement system in Britain was desperately in need of revision: a multiplicity of measurement standards, proliferation of local or regional weights and measures, and a confusing array of measurement practices made everyday measurements unreliable. Aashish Velkar uncovers how metrology and economic logic alone failed to make 'measurements' reliable, and discusses the importance of localised practices in shaping trust in them. Markets and Measurements in Nineteenth-Century Britain steers away from the traditional explanations of measurement reliability based on the standardisation and centralisation of metrology; the focus is on changing measurement practices in local economic contexts. Detailed case studies from the industrial revolution suggest that such practices were path-dependent and 'anthropocentric'. Therefore, whilst standardised metrology may have improved precision, it was localised practices that determined the reliability and trustworthiness of measurements in economic contexts.
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Common terms and phrases
attributes beneﬁt Birmingham Birmingham wire gauge Britain British bushel businesses buyers Cambridge centralised chaldron changes Chapter circa CLRO commodity exchanges competition context corn Corporation of London decimal deﬁned density developed difﬁcult Economic History eighteenth century engineering factors ﬁrms ﬁrst ﬁve ﬂour gallons grades grain groups hardware district heaped History Review hundredweight Ibid Imperial units important inch increased inﬂuence institutions involved Ironmonger issues ISWMA journal Kula LCTA London coal trade meas measurement practices measurement units merchants metage system metric measures metric system metric units metrological reform metrological units millers milling natural weight nineteenth century ofthe organisations political pounds proposed quantity reﬂect reliable Richard Johnson scientiﬁc Select Committee seller signiﬁcant speciﬁc standardisation standards uniform United Kingdom University Press urement value chain varieties weight measurements weights and measures wheat wire gauge wire industry wire makers wire products wire sizes Zupko