Weights and Measures Day – May 20, 2023

Weights and Measures Day falls on May 20 and celebrates the history related to international trade and the exchanging of ideas across the globe. In 1875, the world came together and signed an International treaty that agreed to use a standard system of weights and measures. Whenever there is a consensus new codes have to be set. This was necessary since, throughout human history, different parts of the world used various measuring systems. All in all, this made trade and communication on trade subjects difficult.

History of Weights and Measures Day

Weights and Measures Day was first celebrated in 1875, and since then, it has been a traditional day that is celebrated worldwide. Weights and Measures Day is celebrated to acknowledge an international treaty, known as the Metre Convention, signed on May 20, 1875, in the capital city of France, Paris.

The convention that was signed on this day has helped solve various problems related to weights and measures, not only in the United States but in many other countries worldwide. The signatures taken on this international treaty were from 17 different countries that had agreed to use a common system of measurement throughout the world.

The importance of this international treaty can be understood by the fact that several units of measurement have been derived from this convention itself. This includes units such as meter, kilogram, liter, etc.

Weights and Measures Day timeline

1588
The First Table of Weights and Measures is Issued

Queen Elizabeth proclaims 14 units in total, including the gallon, bushel, ton, and ounce.

1824
A Prototype Metre is Made

A platinum bar is cut into equal parts and becomes the international standard for the length of measurement.

1875
Treaty of the Metre

The treaty establishes the International Bureau of Weights and Measures.

1960
The International System of Units is Established

The 11th General Conference of Weights and Measures establish a modern metric system of measurement.

Weights and Measures Day FAQs

Who invented measuring tape?

A Connecticut man named Alvin J. Fellows patented the spring-click tape measure on July 14, 1868.

What are the three types of measurement?

The three standard measurement systems are the International System of Units, the British Imperial System, and the U.S. Customary System. Of these, the International System of Units is prominently used.

What is measurement skill?

Measuring skills encompass all the skills required for a child to measure something effectively. It is the knowledge of how to measure the physical attributes of objects, including how to appropriately use measurement tools and proper techniques. One cannot be taught without the other.

Weights and Measures Day Activities

  1. Learn how the units got their name

    Read up on how some of the measurements we use daily got their names. Did you know that centigrade is an old term that means ‘divided into 100’ and that Celsius was named after Anders Celsius?

  2. Conduct some research

    A great way to observe this holiday is to learn about the history of measuring things. You will discover just how confusing things were before everything got standardized.

  3. Experiment

    Try converting your weight to pounds or kilograms, depending on where in the world you are. Then, convert that into stones. You can use an online calculator or challenge yourself to figure it out once you know what the conversion is.

5 Songs With Measurements In Its Title

  1. "6-inch" by Beyoncé

    Beyoncé sings about hard-working women in this song, using six-inch heels as a symbol of wealth and power.

  2. "A thousand miles" by Vanessa Carlton

    Carlton sings about how she would travel the world to be with her loved one.

  3. "Six feet under" by The Weeknd

    "Six Feet Under" is a phrase that dates back to the 1930s, and that means dead and buried.

  4. "Sixteen tons" by Tennessee Ernie Ford

    This song was written in 1947 by the country and western guitarist and songwriter, Merle Travis.

  5. "Kilos" by Bugzy Malone

    "Kilos" finds Bugzy Malone giving us a taste of his lifestyle now, and he's become one of the biggest names in the U.K. rap game.

Why We Love Weights and Measures Day

  1. It’s the perfect excuse

    We love Weights and Measures Day because it gives us a reason to find out why we measure things the way we do. Not only is it a look back into history, but we also see the science behind it.

  2. It helps us understand our world

    The holiday also allows us to appreciate and celebrate how measurements help us find out about how things like length, time, temperature, and mass are calculated. Take out some time on this day to discover your world.

  3. It’s a reason to be thankful

    Without accurate measurements, we wouldn't be able to perform a lot of daily and exploratory activities. Measurement systems are the basis for everything from finding our way around to navigating the cosmos, and without them, none of these advances would be possible.

Weights and Measures Day dates

YearDateDay
2022May 20Friday
2023May 20Saturday
2024May 20Monday
2025May 20Tuesday
2026May 20Wednesday

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