Approximate measures

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Approximate measures are units of volumetric measurement which are not defined by a government or government-sanctioned organization, or which were previously defined and are now repealed, yet which remain in use.[1][2][3]

It may be that all English-unit derived capacity measurements are derived from one original approximate measurement: the mouthful, consisting of about 12 ounce, called the ro in ancient Egypt (their smallest recognized unit of capacity).[4][5] The mouthful was still a unit of liquid measure during Elizabethan times.[6] (The principal Egyptian standards from small to large were the ro, hin, hekat, khar.)[7]

Because of the lack of official definitions, many of these units will not have a consistent value.

United Kingdom[edit]

  • glass-tumbler
  • breakfast-cup
  • tea-cup
  • wine-glass
  • table-spoon
  • dessert-spoon
  • tea-spoon
  • black-jack
  • demijohn (dame-jeanne)
  • goblet
  • Pitcher
  • Gyllot—reckoned equal to 1/2 gill.
  • Noggin 1/4 pint[8]
  • Nipperkin a small measure for liquor, containing no more than 1/2 pint
  • Tumblerful 10 fl oz or 2 gills or 2 teacupsful
  • Apothecaries' approximate measures[9]
    • teacupful=about 4 fl oz
    • wineglassful=about 2 fl oz
    • tablespoonful=about 1/2 fl oz
    • dessertspoonful=about 2 fl dr
    • teaspoonful=about 1 fl dr
    • drop=about minim
  • Teacupful 5 fl oz, or 1 gill ibid
  • Wineglassful 2-1/2 fl oz or 1/2 gill or 1/2 teacupful or 1/4 tumblerful
  • Dessertspoonful 1/4 fl oz or 2 fl dr and equal to 2 teaspoonful or 1/2 tablespoonful
  • Teaspoonful 1/8 fl oz or 1 fl dr and also equal to 1/2 dessertspoonful or 1/4 tablespoonful

United States[edit]

The vagueness of how these measures have been defined, redefined, and undefined over the years, both through written and oral history is best exemplified by the large number of sources that need to be read and cross-referenced in order to paint even a reasonably accurate picture. So far, the list includes The United States Pharmacopoeia,[10][11][12] U.S. FDA,[13] NIST,[14][15][16] A Manual of Weights, Measures, and Specific Gravity,[17] State Board Questions and Answers,[18] MediCalc,[19] MacKenzie's Ten Thousand Receipts,[20] Approximate Practical Equivalents,[21] When is a Cup not a Cup?,[22]</ref> Cook's Info,[23] and knitting-and.com.,[24] and Modern American Drinks.[25]

Dashes, pinches, and smidgens are all traditionally very small amounts well under a teaspoon, but not more uniformly defined. In the early 2000s some companies began selling measuring spoons that defined a dash as 18 teaspoon, a pinch as 116 teaspoon, and a smidgen as 132 teaspoon.[26][27] Based on these spoons, there are two smidgens in a pinch and two pinches in a dash. However, the 1954 Angostura “Professional Mixing Guide” states that “a dash” is 1/6th of a teaspoon, or 1/48th of an ounce, and Victor Bergeron (a.k.a. Trader Vic, famous saloonkeeper), said that for bitters it was 18 teaspoon, but 14 fl oz for all other liquids.[28]

Fluid Measures
Unit Abbrev. Definition 1
(c. 1885)
Definition 2
(c. 1905)
Definition 3
(c. 1975)
Definition 4
(c. 2015)
Traditional Binary
Submultiple Fl. Oz.
Binary Submultiples
hint 1128 tsp[29] 11024 2 hints = 1 drop
drop dr., gt., gtt. 18 to 112 minim or 5 centigrams[10] 164 tsp[30] 1512 2 drops = 1 smidgen
smidgen smdg.,[25]:12 smi. 132 tsp 1256 2 smidgens = 1 pinch
pinch pn. 18 tsp 116 tsp 1128 2 pinches = 1 dash
dash ds. 18 tsp 164 2 dashes = 1 saltspoon
saltspoon
(Scruple-spoon,[25]:12 tad[30])
ssp.,[31][32] sp.,[32] scrsp.[25]:12 14 tsp[23] 132 2 saltspoons = 1 coffeespoon
coffeespoon
(barspoon)
bsp.[33] 12 tsp[23] 116 2 coffeespoons = 1 teaspoon
teaspoon
(kitchen spoon, splash)
tsp. or t. 1 fluid dram or 5 mL[10]
most common size: 80 minims or 3 mL [17]
1 fluidrachm or 4 mL,[11] or 3.75 mL[18]
(actual range: 4.6–5.5 mL [12])
13 tablespoon or 16 fl oz 1 fl dram or 5 mL,[13] 16 fl oz,[15] 113 fl dr 18 2 teaspoons = 1 dessertspoon
dessertspoon dsp., dssp. or dstspn. 2 fluid drams or 10 mL[10]
most common size: 2 12 fl dr or 10 mL [17]
2 fluidrachm or 8 mL,[11] or 7.5 mL[18]
(actual range: 8.4–10.4 mL [12])
2 fl dram or 8 mL[13] 14 2 dessertspoons = 1 tablespoon
tablespoon (mouthful) tbsp. or T., rarely tbls. 12 fluid ounce or 20 mL[10]
most common size: 5 fl dr or 20 mL [17]
4 fluidrachm or 16 mL,[11] or 15 mL[18]
(actual range: 12.8–15.6 mL [12])
1/2 fl oz or 15 mL[13][15] 12 2 tablespoons = 1 handful
handful
(fluid ounce, finger)
m. (for manipulus)[34] 1 fl oz[35][36][37] 1 2 handfuls = 1 wineglass
wineglass
(glassful)
wgf.,[19] 2 fluid ounces or 60 mL,[10] w-gl.[25]:12 2 2 wineglasses = 1 teacup
teacup tcf.[19] 4 fluid ounces[10] 4 2 teacups = 1 coffeecup
coffeecup
(tumbler, kitchencup)
8 fluid ounces[15] 8 2 coffeecups = 1 jug
jug
(pint)
16 2 jugfuls = 1 pitcher
pitcher
(quart)
ptch. 32 2 pitchers = 1 pottle

References[edit]

  1. ^ A Dictionary of Weights and Measures for the British Isles. Philadelphia. 1985. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  2. ^ The Rower's Almanac 2006-2007. The Rowers Almanac Inc. p. 379. ISBN 978-0-9651327-6-3.
  3. ^ "Old Cooking Definitions".
  4. ^ Swapna Mukhopadhyay; Wolff-Michael Roth. Alternative Forms of Knowing (In) Mathematics. Springer. p. 265. Retrieved 30 October 2016. Who would have thought that the units of measure "the pint" and "the quart" are based on "the mouthful" (Klein, 1974, The World of Measurements: Masterpieces, Mysteries, and Muddles of Metrology.).
  5. ^ Wilson, Hilary. Understanding Hieroglyphs: A Complete Introductory Guide. New York: Barnes & Noble Books. p. 165. ISBN 0-7607-3858-0. Retrieved 30 October 2016. The smallest recognized unit of volume was the ro, a mouthful. It was reckoned that five mouthfuls made one sixty-fourth of a heqat so there were 320 ro to one heqat.
  6. ^ Klein, Herbert Arthur (1974). The Science of Measurement: A Historical Survey. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. p. 34. ISBN 0-486-25839-4. Retrieved 30 October 2016. A fairly clear line of descent has thus been traced from the jigger, or handful, of Elizabethan England to the customary unit for dispensing the "firewater" that is the most prevalent drug used in our own time and culture, nearly four centuries later. In the United States the half jigger, sometimes called a pony, is half again the Elizabethan mouthful.
  7. ^ Selin, Helaine (1997). Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. p. 1013. ISBN 0-7923-4066-3.
  8. ^ Nicholson, Edward (1912). Men and Measures: A History of Weights and Measures Ancient and Modern. London: Smith, Elder, & Co. pp. 125-126.
  9. ^ Oldberg, Oscar (1887). A Manual of Weights and Measures (Second Edition, Revised. ed.). 105 Madison Street: Chas. J. Johnson.CS1 maint: location (link)
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Oldberg, Oscar (1884). "A Companion to the United States Pharmacopoeia". W. Wood: 1122. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ a b c d "United States Pharmacopoeia, Eighth Decennial Revision (1907)". 1907: lvi. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ a b c d "Proceedings of the American Pharmaceutical Association at the Fifty-Third Annual Meeting: The Approximate Measures of the U. S. P." Baltimore, M.D.: American Pharmaceutical Association. 1905: 301. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ a b c d "FDA Investigations Operations Manual 2016 Appendix D" (PDF). 2016.
  14. ^ "NIST Special Publication 430". Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  15. ^ a b c d "NIST Special Publication 1038:The International System of Units (SI) Conversion Factors for General Use" (PDF). 2006: 10. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  16. ^ "NIST Handbook 133: Checking the Net Contents of Packaged Goods" (PDF). 2016: 176. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  17. ^ a b c d Oldberg, Oscar (1885). A Manual of Weights, Measures, and Specific Gravity. author [C. J. Johnson, printer]. pp. 124. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  18. ^ a b c d Goepp, Rudolph Max (1908). State board questions and answers. Saunders. pp. 13. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  19. ^ a b c "Household Measures Conversion". Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  20. ^ MacKenzie, Colin. MacKenzie's Ten Thousand Receipts. p. 241. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  21. ^ "MPR The Right Dose of Information". Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  22. ^ Mescher, Virginia (2006). "When is a Cup not a Cup?" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  23. ^ a b c Green, Denzil. "Measuring Spoons".
  24. ^ "Weights and Measurements in Vintage Recipes".
  25. ^ a b c d e Kappeler, George J. (1895). Modern American Drinks: How to Mix and Serve All Kinds of Cups and Drinks. Merriam Company. pp. 12.
  26. ^ Rowlett, Russ (December 2003). "P". How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurement. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  27. ^ "Pinch, Dash and Smidgen Measurements". Internet Accuracy Project. 2009.
  28. ^ "sizes". Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  29. ^ "A dash, pinch, and smidgen may be small amounts but they are still measurable cooking units". Archived from the original on 2016-10-01.
  30. ^ a b "Mini Measuring Set".
  31. ^ Bailey, Pearl La Verne (1914). Domestic science, principles and application. Webb Publishing Co. pp. 21. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  32. ^ a b "Saltspoon".
  33. ^ "Steelay".
  34. ^ "Apothecaries' symbols commonly found in medical recipes". Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  35. ^ Lea, Elizabeth Ellicott (1982). A Quaker Woman's Cookbook.
  36. ^ Whitehouse, Jordan. "How to Measure a Finger of Scotch". Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  37. ^ Kenyon, Sean. "Ask the bartender: Giving all those old bar terms the finger". Retrieved 2016-09-28.