Swedish units of measurement

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In Sweden, a common system for weights and measures was introduced by law in 1665. Before that, there were a number of local variants. The system was slightly revised in 1735. In 1855, a decimal reform was instituted that defined a new Swedish inch as 1/10 foot. Up to the middle of the 19th century there was a law allowing for the imposition of the death penalty for falsifying weights or measures. Sweden adopted the metric system in 1889. Only the mil has been preserved, now measuring 10km, however.

Length[edit]

  • aln – Forearm (cf. Ell) (pl. alnar). After 1863, 59.37 cm. Before that, from 1605, 59.38 cm as defined by king Carl IX of Sweden in Norrköping 1604 based on Rydaholmsalnen.
  • famnFathom, 3 alnar.
  • kvarter – Quarter, 1/4 aln
  • fot – Foot, 1/2 aln. Before 1863, the Stockholm fot was the commonly accepted unit, at 29.69 cm.
  • linje – Line, after 1863 1/10 tum, 2.96 mm. Before that, 1/12 tum or 2.06 mm.
  • mil – Mile, also lantmil. From 1699, defined as a unity mile of 18000 aln or 10.69 km. The unified mile was meant to define the suitable distance between inns. (The current Swedish mil is exactly 10 kilometers,)
  • nymil – New mile from 1889, 10 km exactly. Commonly used to this day, only referred to as mil.
  • kyndemil – The distance a torch will last, approx 16 km
  • skogsmil – Also rast, distance between rests in the woods, approx 5 km.
  • fjärdingsväg – 1/4 mil
  • stenkast – Stone's throw, approx 50 m, used to this day as an approximate measure.
  • ref – 160 fot, for land measurement, was 100 fot after 1855.
  • stång – 16 fot, for land measurement
  • tum – Thumb (inch), 1/12 fot, 2.474 cm. After 1863 1/10 fot, 2.96 cm, not much accepted by professional users in mechanics and carpentry who later switched to English inch (2.54 cm, abandoned only late 20th century) and metric system.
  • tvärhand – Hand, 4 inches.

Area[edit]

  • kannaland – 1000 fot², or 88.15 m²
  • kappland – 154.3 m².
  • spannland – 16 kappland
  • tunnland – 2 spannland or 4937.6 m², about 1 acre
  • kvadratmil – Square mil, 36 million square favnar, from 1739.

Volume[edit]

unit relation to previous metric value Imperial Value
pot - 0.966 L 0.85 Qt
tunna 2 spann -
ankare - 39.26 L 34.56 Qt
ohm 155 pottor 149.73 L 131.806 Qt
storfavn - 3770 L (3.77 m³) 3318.662 Qt (829.666 Gal)
kubikkfavn - 5850 L (5.85 m³) 5149.64 Qt (1287.41 Gal)

Weight[edit]

  • mark – 1/2 skålpund. Was used from the Viking era, when it was approx 203 g.


unit relation to previous metric value Imperial Value
skeppspund 20 lispund 170.03 kg 375.426 Lb
bismerpund 12 skålpund 5.101 kg. 11.263 Lb
lispund 20 skålpund 8.502 kg 18.771 Lb
skålpund 2 mark 0.42507 kg 0.937 LB
mark 50 ort 212.5 g 7.496 Oz
ort 4.2508 g 65.6 Gr

Nautical[edit]

unit relationhip metric value Imperial Value
kabellängd (old) 100 famnar 178 m 195 Yd
kabellängd (modern) 1/10 nautisk mil 185.2 m 202.5 Yd
nautisk mil 1852 m 2025 Yd
distansminut 1852 m 2025 Yd
kvartmil (old) 1/4 sjömil 1852m 2025 Yd
sjömil (old) 7408 m 8101 Yd
sjömil (modern) 1852 m 2025 Yd

Monetary[edit]

  • daler – From 1534, Swedish thaler. From 1873, replaced by the krona.
  • riksdaler – From 1624, 1 1/2 daler, from 1681 2 daler, from 1715 3 daler, from 1776 6 daler
  • skilling – From 1776, 1/48 riksdaler
  • mark – From 1534, 1/3 daler. From 1604, 1/4 daler.
  • öre – From 1534, 1/8 mark. Subsequently replaced by the skilling, but from 1855 reintroduced as 1/100 riksdaler.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]