Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Measure for Measure

Among the enduring innovations of the French revolution was the adoption of the metric system of measurement. Others such as adoption of a new calendar with 10 day weeks barely lasted for 10 years. Interestingly, the last state use of the guillotine was 1981, just before France abolished the death penalty altogether.

While the U.S. remains firmly entrenched in the dark ages in its adherence to conventional measures (out of sheer stubborness as far as I can tell), the rest of the world got with the program. Situated under the colonnade on rue Vaugirard opposite the French Senate and the Luxembourg Gardens, this is one of 16 standard meters that were posted around Paris between February 1796 and December 1797 to educate the public about the new system. Of those, only two remain. Moreover, the one pictured here is the only one that can still be found in the site where it was originally placed.


Grace and Bradley said...

Thanks for sharing. I remember many years ago, I actually went look for it and found it, so it is still exist.

Anonymous said...

I love how reading your blog is like taking a well informed tour of Paris. Keep it up!


Starman said...

The US has been trying to convert to the metric system for many years, but people aren't willing to give up that with which they're comfortable. Since I began going to Europe, I have kind of managed to get into thinking in Celsius as far as the weather is concerned. I sometimes can think in metres and such, but it usually requires a bit of calculation.

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