Where does the Metric System come from?

The beginning

If any one man can be credited with being the creator of the Metric System it would be the French vicar, Gabriel Mouton. As far back as 1670 his method of measurement, based on the decimal system, was discussed. He based the ideas for this upon the measurement of what would later become a nautical mile: one minute of the the arc of the Earth’s circle. His measurement ideas that he had, including a unit of length based upon a pendulum swing of one beat per second, were all later elaborated on by French scientists, bringing us closer to the current Metric system.

metric system

During the French Revolution these ideas were carried one step further by Talleyrand (the Bishop of Autun). The revolution encouraged many changes and reforms, amongst them the need to reform the way that things were measured and weighed. Talleyrand’s political indulgence and guidance allowed the French Academy to begin research into a new French system for measures and weights. One of the ideas carried forward used the length based on a decimal fraction of the distance between the North Pole and the equator, the move towards decimalization was underway. Continue reading

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