Talk:Apothecaries' system

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Good articleApothecaries' system has been listed as one of the Natural sciences good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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March 11, 2009Peer reviewReviewed
March 12, 2009Good article nomineeListed
Current status: Good article
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The mysterious numbers[edit]

What are those numbers after the nbsps in the table? We should either have a proper column for them, or zap 'em altogether. -- John Fader 01:08, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)

In international style, groups of three numbers are often separated by spaces instead of commas, because in most countries the comma is used as the decimal point instead of the period: 1,234 can be misinterpreted as one and two hundred thirty-four thousandths instead of one thousand two hundred thirty-four. However, Wikipedia's style guide says to use a comma as a thousands separator, so I have edited the article to conform. Indefatigable 02:39, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Personally I'd have nothing there (i.e. no space or comma) but the MoS trumps me, I guess. I was mostly confused because it was in a table, and I was worried that this was a mysterious fourth column that had become misplaced. It's much clearer now; thanks for solving the mystery for me. -- John Fader 03:12, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Comma/decimals in numbers[edit]

I'm confused by the numbers -- in keeping with the rest of the site, numbers like 373.241,72 should be written as 373,241.72, shouldn't it? Or is the thousands separator actually being used in the decimal place, so the number really is 373241.72? It's a bit confusing.

In accordance with the manual of style, the article uses periods (full stops) as decimal points and commas as thousands separators -- an apothecaries' pound is about 373 g. Sorry, I don't see how it's confusing. Could you elaborate? Indefatigable 13:05, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
I can see where this question is coming from. In the US (and others), thousands are separated with commas and decimals are separated with dots. In Europe, the opposite is true. According to ISO 31-0, commas and dots should be reserved for decimals; spaces should be used to separate thousand groups. aszymanik speak! 05:46, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, but I believe it's no longer relevant to this article. --Hans Adler (talk) 07:54, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Other Apothecaries' systems[edit]

It could be noted that the size of the unit varied by country, and was largely displaced by the Metric System in Europe. By "Muret Sanders enzyklopädisches Wörterbuch der Englischen und Reutschen Sprache" [1900] gives the units proportionally in ratio, the pounds being
350.78325 g Prussia, Meklenberg, Hanover, Saxony, Weimer (= 12/16 Prussian pound
357.6476 g In Wutenberg
357.6639 g in Kursland
357.8538 g in Nuremburg and a great part of Germany
360.0000 g in Baden and Lubeck (based on metric units)
375.0000 g in Switzerland and Bavaria (based on 12/16 pound, pound = 500 g)
420.0450 g in Austria (12/16 Pfund; all their weight units are 6/5 of the Hansiatic pound)

In Russia, the pound was 8064 doli, or 7/8 of the funt, translates as 358.3236125 g.

Wendy.krieger 11:05, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

New version of the article[edit]

The article only dealt with the weight system in English speaking countries and the Imperial measure system in England (which was not the same as that in the US). It also ignored the history of the system. I corrected these things in my sandbox, and got a bit carried away. The result is essentially a comprehensive new article. I hope it's comprehensible in spite of the wealth of information,. --Hans Adler (talk) 14:15, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

On keeping a consistent SI writing style[edit]

Please note what the SI system page says about writing style; SI unit symbols are written in upright Roman so as to differentiate from variables. On this page there are several instances of g and kg. As far as I can tell there is little risk of ambiguity between the legacy units and their SI definitions, so the SI symbols would be better written g and kg.

91.154.83.153 (talk) 07:08, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Instead of a peer review[edit]

I am not sure how proper it is for me to "peer review" my own work, so I am putting my thoughts here instead.

  • There is a lack of inline citations. When I started writing this article I knew next to nothing about this subject, and I am sure that every single claim in this article can be sourced to one or more of the sources that appear as inline references elsewhere. The problem is to find out which, in each particular case. I guess that bringing the density of inline citations to FA level would take about half as long as writing the article did – which is a lot more than I am going to spend on such a boring task.
  • Apart from the book "Weights and Measures in Scotland", all sources I used are available online. Unfortunately I made (and had to make) heavy use of sources in German.
  • What I could not find, and what is therefore missing as a reference in the article, is anything like a general overview over the development of apothecaries' weights in Europe. I could not even find an overview over the history of European weights and measurements in general, or even just in a particular country. In order to talk about the topic I had to make decisions about what is important enough to be mentioned, and what is irrelevant.
  • I suspect that more is known about the early history, including the Salerno system and its relation to the Roman and Arabic systems. But I couldn't find this information.
  • When a scruple is divided into 20 grains, they are traditionally called barley grains; when into 24 grains they are traditionally called wheat grains. There is a widespread belief that this is related to the actual average (in whatever sense) weights of these plant grains, and that the carat is related to the actual average weight of a carob seed, to the extent that physical seeds were sometimes, perhaps even originally when the standard was defined, used to weigh things. There is no evidence that this is true, and I suspect it is as mythical as the idea that the unit called "the King's foot" changed when there was a new king. (IIRC this is close to R.D. Connor's opinion in "Weights and Measures in Scotland".) There is no clear evidence either way, so I left the discussion out. (This is of course more relevant to some other mass unit articles than to this article.)
  • I still consider submitting a version of this article to a scholarly journal, to solve the sourcing problems. :D

--Hans Adler (talk) 22:29, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

Is it a good article? My computer cannot show those signs. Only boxes. I think you should paste pictures of them, or I need to have the vocabulary of all the writing signs which may appear in wikipedia. 79.179.9.202 (talk) 15:32, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

I subbed the symbols. Both dram and minim were wrong. Just checked on IE, and they *still* can't display basic symbols! (Why does anybody use IE?) I'll add in the {{unicode}} template. — kwami (talk) 00:28, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! Hans Adler 07:34, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Roman weights[edit]

Hallo everybody!

I translated this good article to russian. I think there are some mistakes (may be I`m wrong). What about mina, drachma and shekel in roman system of weights. I tried to find some sources, but there are no evidence about existence of mina, drachma and shekel in Ancient Rome. --Юрий Педаченко (talk) 10:07, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Thanks! I am practically the exclusive author of this article. Since I am not an expert and this article is getting little attention, there is indeed reason to be careful. Since I didn't give a reference for the Roman weight system, I guess I simply took this from Ancient Roman units of measurement#Mass and coins. It's entirely possible that some of the units don't belong there, either because they are not actually Roman, or because they were introduced into the Roman weight system at a much later date. I have done a quick search with Google Books and Google Scholar, and this is what I have found:
Mina
I remember reading many sources in my attempt to understand the mina and its relation to the Roman weight system a bit better. The mina of 16 ounces has an obvious attraction as a possible explanation for the pound of 16 ounces that existed in parallel to the pound of 12 ounces. However, while I have found some sources that describe this ("Attic") mina, I have also found many that describe various other minas, and it now appears to me that "mina" was basically just the Greek word for "pound".
Drachm
I think there can be no doubt that some Roman emperors issued drachma coins in some provinces (at least Egypt). Of course this does not imply that the drachm was part of the weight system in any meaningful way. It appears that in De Ponderibus et Mensuris (c. 1300) the dragma is said to have been defined as 1/9 ounce by the "ancients" and 1/8 ounce by the "moderns". [1] That alone seems reason enough for caution.
Shekel/sicilicus
This appears to be a special case. The sicilicus is primarily a symbol representing the fraction 1/48, so it's natural that in a weight context it would represent 1/48 pound. This gives it a borderline status similar to the centimetre, which we can see either as a unit or as a fraction of a unit.
I am going to remove the mina and the sicilicius from the table, since they are dubious and not really referred to in the discussion anyway. The drachm is a bit more tricky. I will remove it now since at least the precise value (1/8 ounce or 1/9 ounce) is dubious. But since this is a key unit in the apothecaries' system, some more research and work on the article text is needed. Hans Adler 11:11, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
I have difficulty finding relatively recent, reliable information about the Roman weight system, but it does appear that the drachm was added to it at some (possibly post-classical) stage. It would be good to know when that happened, though, and whether it went through a stage in which it was 1/9 ounce as in the Salerno system.
Again, thank you very much for your valuable comment, and please let me know about all remaining doubts you have about the article. Hans Adler 12:14, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for your answer and for very good and interesting article. I found a lot of new information. In some days, or may be 1-2 weeks, I want to nominate russian translatian to good articles. Before I'll try find more information about russian system with such specific units as "zolotnik" (Russian: золотник), "lot" (Russian: лот) and "dolya" (Russian: доля). Than I`ll inform you about this information and may be it would be interesting for you to make a new section.
Sincerely yours --Юрий Педаченко (talk) 18:01, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Absolutely! This sounds very promising. I would be particularly interested in the older systems and standards if there is still any information about them. Everything I could find out is from after the Nuremberg standard was introduced in Eastern Europe, but I don't even know when that happened.
Now I see that we have several relevant articles: Obsolete Russian units of measurement, zolotnik, lot (unit). They come with the usual problems of such articles (e.g.: the zolotnik was originally 1/96 funt, later 1/72 funt; but when did the change happen?) and lack of citations. Hans Adler 19:18, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
I found some information about russian apothecaries` system. Due to Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary Russian system based on Nuremberg standart. 1 ap. pound was equal to 358,323 g, 1 ounce - 29,86 g, 1 drachma - 3,732 g, 1 scruple - 1,244 g, 1 gran- 62,209 mg. In article dated on 1890 is written that on 1890 year only two hospitals took metrical system, all other used apothecaries system of weight. In another source I found that system was abolished by law in USSR only at 1 January 1927 year. ----Юрий Педаченко (talk) 16:33, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! That's not what I hoped for but it is also very valuable information. In Apothecaries' system#Nuremberg standard I have added a line for Russia and a sentence at the end of the section. Please keep me up to date about the Russian article. I can't read Russian, so I will not look at that article very often. Hans Adler 17:44, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
The russian pound (funt) is divided in the french fashion, into 96 zlotniks of 96 doli. If you line the russian and french systems together most of the names agree. The lot is of course, german (the 1/2 oz unit). The apothecaries weights are divided in the English way (to 5760 grains), but are set so that the apothecaries pound is 7/8 funt (or 28 lot).
Likewise, the zloty (gold) corresponds to a solidus or 1/6 oz. In the french system, it is also a coin-name "dennier". Wendy.krieger (talk) 10:00, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

font problem[edit]

Here's a curiosity: the symbols for pound (℔) and drachm (ℨ) seem to be missing from Lucida Grande boldface, so they appear in the body of the table but not its head. —Tamfang (talk) 20:10, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Symbols[edit]

The symbol for dram didn't look right (although it looked fine in edit mode) so I changed it, but only in the first table.

Bear in mind that I grew up with these symbols, so I think I know what they are supposed to look like.

Maybe this is a browser issue, but the symbol for dram should be in the same style as the ounce symbol. For example, the top stroke should be straight and horizontal. The next stroke should also be straight, but diagonal.

Apothecaries' symbols commonly found in medical recipes

Text Creation Partnership Character Entity List (on this website, do a search on dram.)

Zyxwv99 (talk) 21:16, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

It's hard to tell with the inconsistency between various fonts, but I think you are right. THanks. Hans Adler 21:35, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

To Do List[edit]

  • some discussion of pharmaceutical Latin (or apothecaries' Latin) -- at some point I'd like to write an article about it, but articles often get spun off from sections, so maybe it could start here.

Supplemental units:

  • gallon (congius), apothecaries' wine gallon etc.
  • tumblerful / coffeecupful - half-pint
  • teacupful - quarter-pint
  • cyathus (wineglass or wineglassfull) - 1/8 pint - I've added something about this to the article on wineglass

Before 1700

  • cochleare - spoon (1/2 fluid ounce)

After 1700

  • tablespoon and teaspoon (1/2 ounce and 1 dram respectively)
  • dessertspoon - 2 drams, part of a 3-spoon system with the two above-menioned
  • baby spoon and large spoon - part of a 5-spoon system

discussion of minim vs. drop

Zyxwv99 (talk) 03:23, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Recent addition doesn't look right[edit]

These two paragraphs just turned up under the heading Metrication in countries using the troy and avoirdupois systems

It should be noted that the fluid measure for the apothecaries is based on the ounce avoirdupois, including the avoirdupoise grain (of 1/480 avoirdupoise ounce). A drop or minim is then a fluid grain avoir. In the expression that an avoirdupois pound is 7000 grains, the grains belong to a different system (troy), this is really a definition of a commercial weight in terms of a (different) jewelers weight. The directly derived avoirdupoise grain went obsolete in the 19th century.
A late avoirdupois division of the pound is to 16 ounces, each of 16 drams, each of 30 grains av, the avoirdupois pound being 7680 grains av, or by definition, 7000 grains where 480 make the oz troy. In practice, the Irish proposal would bring the English measures in line with the German tradition, where the apothecares and avoirdupoise ounces were identical.

This doesn't look right. Zyxwv99 (talk) 02:57, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

To be more specific: "It should be noted that the fluid measure for the apothecaries is based on the ounce avoirdupois..." In the US system, fluid measures are based on the US gallon of 231 cubic inches, with 128 fluid ounces to the gallon. This is the same as the Queen Anne wine gallons, which was, in principle, supposed to be the volume occupied by 8 pounds avoirdupois of wine, although that would only work if the wine had a specific gravity of 0.958611419, in which case it would have to be brandy, not wine. In the UK, the imperial Apothecary measures were based on the imperial gallon, which was, in principle, the volume of 10 pounds (avoirdupois) of water, with 160 fluid ounces to the gallon.

"...including the avoirdupoise grain (of 1/480 avoirdupoise ounce)..." There are 437 1/2 grains in an ounce avoirdupois.

"A drop or minim is then a fluid grain avoir." This is actually pretty close, but not exact. Avoirdupois/Troy/Apothecaries' grain: 0.06479891 gram; US minim in cubic centimeter: 0.06161152; imperial minim in cc: 0.059162849. Zyxwv99 (talk) 04:04, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

It should be noted that I added these two paragraphs in relation to the table proposed Dublin system. Since at this time Dublin was in the UK, the gallons etc refer to the UK versions, not the US ones. The quoted reference reveals that the Dublin system is in fact, water-weights based on the Imperial gallon. One gets an ounce, divided into 8 (fluid) drachms, each of 60 minims (grains), reflecting the weights of the imperial units. The suggestion made here is that a new apothecaries scale is being made by equating the oz to the avoirdupois oz.
When one sets the apothecaries pound to 12 oz avoirdupois, (which is what the Dublin system suggests), then the minim really is 1/480 oz = 1 grain. On the other hand, we should address that the appellation of the grain as 'grain troy', suggests that other grains might exist, and that the 'troy' really does serve a purpose.
English weights come from a variety of markets that serve the import/export industries. The pound of King Offa, or of the tower, comes from 120 silver dirhams. This was replaced in mint-weight by a new pound, based on the heavier gold dirhem, which comes through the gold markets at Troyes, is called 'troy weight': the troy pound being 128 silver dirhams. The apothecaries weight is variable from place to place, is usually tied to some other system, usually the avoirdupois, but in the UK, the troy.
The avoirdupoise comes from the wool trade from italy. The pound was rounded from 6992 grains troy to 7000. However, this is like saying the lb is 9955.5555 grains tower, it's an equality between two systems of weight, not a derivation. The pound is divided into oz, of 16 drams, then into 30 of its own grains. However, there is very little call for grain-size measures in avoirdupoise, so that unit fell out of use by 1800. One does still find references to it, though. [It's in the 1903 English-German German-English dictionary produced by Muret-Sanders].
There is a diamond and pearl grain, of which 4 make the carat, and 606 make the troy grain. The carat by weight was first set to 205 mg in 1877, and then 200 mg about 1900. Still, in both senses, a solidus = 24 carats (siliqua), each of 4 grains.
The ounce of the tower pound was divided into 20 dwt, each of 32 grains, (or 640 tower grains), but only equal to 450 grains troy.
We now turn to the non-sense of the US gallon etc. The theoretical value of the wine gallon is 216 cu in, which pretty much contains 10 of King Offa's (or tower) pounds, at the rate of 250 grains troy to the cu in. The troy pound would 230.4 cu inches at this same scale, which is rounds to a cylinder 7 inches in diameter, and 6 inches high, which then rounds to 231 cu in. More recent roundings is to 0.8331 gallons at 1820, and since 0.8331 of the modern gallon is the larger "Winchester wine gallon". The usual water rating for the US gallon is 12 gallons = 100 lbs (which is 252.5252 gci). Metric water, or s.g. = 1, is 252.891 gci.

Wendy.krieger (talk) 11:15, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the explanation. I'm beginning to follow your logic. The Dublin Pharmacopœia does indeed set out a system of apothecaries' weights and measures based on the avoirdupois pound and the imperial gallon, in which a fluid ounce is the volume of an ounce of water. In this new apothecaries' system, the ounce is divided as previously, into 8 drams of 3 scruples each, with 20 grains to a scruple, giving a total of 480 grains to the ounce. The fluid ounce is similarly divided, so that the new minim becomes essentially a fluid grain. However, there is no indication that the newly defined grain has anything to do with the avoirdupois weight system. To the contrary, it's a new invention: the Dublin apothecaries' grain. Prior to 1588 the avoirdupois system did not have a grain, the smallest unit being the "part" (later renamed dram) equal to 1/16 of an ounce. In 1588 the avoirdupois weight system acquired the troy grain (and, as you said, the pound got rounded up to 7000 grains). Since then, the troy grain has also been the grain avoirdupois. Zyxwv99 (talk) 15:09, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
I chased the entry in Muret Sanders (1903), back to Friedrich Noback's "Münz, Maß and Gewichtsbuch" (Liepzig, 1858) p409, (it gives by town the measures, this one's under "London".) where it gives :
Das pfund (Pound) hat 16 Unzen (Ounces) zu 16 Drachmen (Drams). Die Drachme wird auch 3 Skrupel (Scruples) à 10 Avoirdupois-Grän (Avoirdupois Grains) getheilt. (the pound has 16 ounces to 16 drams. The dram is also divided 3 scruples (to) 10 avoirdupois grains). Note: the inclusion of french "à" suggests that the german is itself a translation of a more ancient source.
The trouble is that one really can't rely on legal definitions only: the rules of Roman measures apply, so defining a 'foot' of some town, also defines a proportional inch (1/12 ft) and mile (5000 ft), see eg "London mile" = 5000 london feet. An ounce, in the manner of apothecaries or troy, divides into 480 grains. Wendy.krieger (talk) 07:19, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
You just confirmed what I suspected: original research. (see WP:NOR). Zyxwv99 (talk) 14:57, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

I also saw this addition, found it extremely confusing and felt that it was probably wrong to a large extent. But I postponed dealing with it. The above discussion is also very confusing as it tries to deal with so many unrelated points simultaneously. I don't really like the term 'original research' in contexts where we are all just trying to find out the facts from the relatively sparse sources that we have and trying to explain them as well as possible. Maybe we can avoid it for the time being and just look for established facts and the best way to present them. Hans Adler 20:37, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

  • "Of the Dublin proposal shown above it that the (imperial) fluid measure for the apothecaries is based on the ounce avoirdupois, including the avoirdupoise grain (of 1/480 avoirdupoise ounce)."
    I think this is mostly correct, although I would have put it differently and doubt that it is needed here at all. (1) The internal relations are on page xlvi of the 1850 Irish pharmacopoeia and do in fact work out as 1 fluid ounce = 8 x 3 x 20 minims = 480 minims. (2) The imperial gallon was originally defined as the volume of 10 pounds of distilled water under certain conditions and consists of 8 fluid pints, each of 20 fluid ounces. Thus a fluid ounce of water weighs 1/16 pound, i.e. an ounce. (3) However, the smaller subdivisions of the avoirdupois ounce had long ago started to follow a different logic than the apothecaries' system, making it misleading to refer to the old subdivisions in this context. The term "avoirdupois grain" nowadays is a synonym for "troy grain", whether it makes sense or not. (The fact that a rather superficial 19th century German source refers to avoirdupois grains is hardly conclusive. BTW, "à" is a perfectly standard German word in this context, though obviously of French origin.) (4) As the 1851 review explains, the 1850 Irish pharmacopoeia merely adopted the English and Scottish system, which we are already discussing in the first section. So this discussion seems a bit out of place. Hans Adler 20:37, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
  • "A drop or minim is then a fluid grain avoir."
    Again, as the original, 'logical', avoirdupois grain is an anachronism, this appears more misleading than helpful. Hans Adler 20:37, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
  • "In the expression that an avoirdupois pound is 7000 grains, the grains belong to a different system (troy), this is really a definition of a commercial weight in terms of a (different) jewelers weight. "
    Correct, but not really relevant. Hans Adler 20:37, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
  • "The directly derived avoirdupoise grain went obsolete in the 19th century."
    I thought it became obsolete much earlier, but I can't immediately find good sources on this. Hans Adler 20:37, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
  • "A late avoirdupois division of the pound is to 16 ounces, each of 16 drams, each of 30 grains av, the avoirdupois pound being 7680 grains av, or by definition, 7000 grains where 480 make the oz troy."
    An avoirdupois pound of 7680 grains is mentioned in this source, for example, which unfortunately seems to be as confused about the matter as it is old, making it unusable. I really don't think this discussion is helpful in this context at all, the avoirdupois pound is generally off-topic in this article, and we would need much better sources. (Which exist; I just don't have them with me now.) Hans Adler 20:37, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
  • "There was very little left to be measured in avoirdupois grains, so the unit fell out of use by 1800."
    Makes sense, but would require a good source and the year 1800 seems a bit late. Hans Adler 20:37, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
  • "In practice, the Irish proposal would bring the English measures in line with the German tradition, where the apothecares and avoirdupoise ounces were identical."
    Regarding the extremely varied "German tradition", this is basically wrong. If you replace German by Italian or Austrian it gets closer to the truth, although it would still be a problematic statement. Hans Adler 20:37, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

The pound of 7680 grains that Hans Adler refers to is from 1266 (350 grams, 5400 troy grains), which predates both the troy and avoirdupois weights. This is King Offa's or the tower pound, which divides to 12 ounces, of 20 pennyweight, of 32 grains, or 7680 grains in total. This is later replaced by a pound of 5760 grains troy (377 grams), and a pound of 16 such oz inadvertantly created by act, giving 7680 grains (497.665 grams). The avoirdupois pound here is claimed at 7000 gt or 453.6 g, but divided to 7680 grains avoirdupois. The Nobach reference gives this particular division.

The contention here is the Dublin system is based on an ounce, which 16 oz = 453.6 gm = 7000 grains troy, but having the North european apothecaries units. A pound, of 453.6 grains, divided into 16 oz, of 16 drams, of 3 scruples, of 10 grains is given in the reference i quoted, where the grain is called avoirdupois, is 59.062 mg.

Regarding "German tradition". The apothecaries scale, where derived locally, is mapped onto 12 ounces or 24 lot, of the handelmaß system (ie avoirdupois). Also the scruple is divided to 20, not 24 grains. Prussia, Austria, define theirs this way. BTW, i found à elsewhere, and now consider it a German idiomatic use.

Wendy.krieger (talk) 08:34, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

The reference to the avoirdupoise grain has been traced back to 1816 P. Kelly, "Metrology, or An exposotion of Weights and Measures" p85. (metrologyorexpos00kelluoft.pdf) "The (avoirdupois) dram is divided into three scruples, and each scruple into ten grains; the Pound or 7680 grains avoirdupois equals 7000 grains troy, and hence 1 grain troy = 1.097 grains avoirdupois." see http://openlibrary.org/books/OL7231448M/Metrology . The quote is also in the same author's Universal Commerce (1818) and in The Universal Cambist (1835). Wendy.krieger (talk) 09:50, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Conversion tables are a bit obscure[edit]

Weights: UK (Imperial) and US
Weight
(symbol)
pound
(℔)
ounce
(℥)
dra(ch)m
(ʒ)
scruple
(℈)
grain
(gr.)
pound 1 12 96 288 5760
ounce 1 8 24 480
dra(ch)m 1 3 60
scruple 1 20
metric equivalent 373 g 31.1 g 3.89 g 1.296 g 64.8 mg

The conversion tables threw me for quite a while.

I know the first one reads "1 ℔ is equivalent to 12 ℥ which is also 96 ʒ, 288 ℈ and 5760 gr." and so on, but it's hard to follow.

Personally, I think something more along the lines of this table would be more suited to purpose. I also changed the first cell in the example to read "Weight (symbol)" as the majority fall into that category as opposed to abbreviation.

I'm no expert though. Tomásdearg92 (talk) 22:43, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

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Merging articles[edit]

Greetings, someone recently suggested that Apothecaries' ounce should be merged into this article. Was wondering everyone's thoughts on the matter. I support it personally. Zell Faze (talk) 02:20, 29 December 2016 (UTC)

Support merging. Ethanbas (talk) 02:05, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

British Apothecaries' weights and conversions (After 1864)[edit]

Hello all, I hope whoever is reading this is having a good day. Anyways one particular section in this article is slightly unclear.

So as you know the United Kingdom and the United Stated still use imperial and US Customary units respectively for various purposes. However, both countries use the metric system within the medical field, that is for the most part.

Under the subsection "English-speaking countries", there is a chart with the title British Apothecaries' weights and conversions (Post-Imperial-based version, 1864–1971). There is also a sentence within the paragraph that states "In the United States, the apothecaries' system remained official until it was abolished in 1971 in favour of the metric system."

There are two problems. First of all, "(Post-Imperial-based version, 1864–1971)" makes it sound as if the imperial system was changed or fell out of use, which obviously isn't true. For someone who doesn't know about the usage of the imperial system this can seem confusing. Second of all, "In the United States, the apothecaries' system remained official until it was abolished in 1971 in favour of the metric system." this also isn't true as the US Customary system is still used extensively in the US.

Please also distinguish between the post 1864 apothecaries' system from the imperial system, because judging from the article there dosen't seem to be a difference.

Point is this subsection is unclear and needs more clarifying.

I am relatively inexperienced with wikipedia, so if I made a mistake please notify me. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Unofficialwikicorrector (talkcontribs) 01:33, 18 August 2020 (UTC)