The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #107159 Message #2219831
Posted By: beardedbruce
20-Dec-07 - 02:55 PM
Thread Name: BS: weight measurment
Subject: RE: BS: weight measurment
"The stone was historically used for weighing agricultural commodities. Potatoes, for example, were traditionally sold in stone and half-stone (14-pound and 7-pound) quantities.
A stone as a unit of 14 pounds originates with the definition in 1340 in England of the (now obsolete) sack, defined as comprising 26 stone each of 14 pounds (ie 364 pounds). This supplanted earlier definitions of both sack and stone as units of measure, and set a standard for each.
Historically the number of pounds in a stone varied by commodity, and was not the same in all times and places even for one commodity. The OED contains examples including:
Commodity Number of Pounds
Wool 14, 15, 24
Sugar and spice 8
Beef and Mutton 8
 Current use
Although no longer an official unit of measure, the stone remains widely used within the British Isles as a means of expressing human body weight. People in these countries normally describe themselves as weighing, for example, "11 stone 4" (11 stone and 4 pounds), rather than "72 kilograms" in most other countries, or "158 pounds" (the conventional way of expressing the same weight in the United States). Its widespread colloquial use may be compared to the persistence in the British Isles of other Imperial units like the foot, the inch, and the mile, despite these having been supplanted entirely or partly (road distances and speed enforcement area are still expressed officially in miles and miles per hour respectively) by metric units in official use (a similar usage persists in Canada, decal) and other contexts is the kilogram. In official use, provision is usually made for the public to express body weight in either stone or kilograms (similar allowance is made for measuring height in feet and inches). For example, on a National Health Service website both Imperial and metric units are used .
Outside the British Isles, stone may also be used to express body weight in casual contexts in other Commonwealth countries, particularly Australia and New Zealand."
Proof that girls are NOT sugar and spice- or their "stone" weight would only be 8 pounds per stone!