Austrian units of measurement

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Austrian units of measurement were used in that country until the adoption of the metric system.


In 1756, the ruling Arch duchess of Austria, Maria Theresa, ordered that the Vienna fathom, as well as its multiples and fractions, should be the state-defined measure of length in the Arch duchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary. The Vienna cubit, that is 134 of the Roman cubit (cubit's or elbow), was also used as a measure of length.

The law should also have applied to the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, of which Maria Theresa was the Queen. However, the traditional Roman foot remained in common use in Prague.

When the metric system was introduced by law on 23 July 1871 (which became obligatory on 1 January 1876), the length of the fathom (Kl after) was established as exactly 1.89648384 m.


Austrian units of measurement
Name of unit Length Other equivalents Relation to SI units
Point 182.917 037 µm
Line 12 points 2.195 004 mm
Inch(Zoll) 144 points 12 lines 26.340 053 mm
Fist 576 points 48 lines = 4 inches(Zoll) = 1/3 foot 105.360 213 mm
Die Spanne 2 fists 2/3 of a Foot 210.72 mm
Foot 1728 points 144 lines = 12 inches(Zoll) 316.080 640 mm
Fathom 6 ft 1.896 483 840 m (Wiener Klafter)
Rute 10 ft 3.160 806 400 m
Mile 24000 ft 4000 fathoms (Klafter) = 2400 Rutes 7.585 935 360 km

Austrian post-mile, police-mile, geographic mile = 3910 Vienna fathoms.