Mark (designation)

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The word mark, followed by number, is a method of designating a version of a product. It is often abbreviated as Mk or M. This use of the word possibly originates from the use of physical marks made to measure height or progress. Furthermore, by metonymy the word mark is used to note a defined level of development.

The kind of products that use this convention vary widely in complexity. The concept shares some similarities with the "type" designation (in hardware), also called "software versioning": 1.0+ (1.1, 1.12, 2.0, 3.0, etc.), used to designate general software product releases, and other version control schemas. Thus designations like "Mark I", "Mark II", "Mark III", "Mark IV", etc. come to be used as proper names for persons and products.


Mark refers to a mark on the modification plate of a system, component or machine. Modification plates are used to identify which modifications have already been applied to the device, either at the factory or by maintainers. The use of Mark as a method of versioning has entered common usage however, and may be applied to devices without a modification plate to physically mark.

United Kingdom[edit]

In British military practice, Mark designations have been given in Roman numerals, often as sub-designations of "Number" designations. For example, the Number 1 rifle, the Number 2 rifle, etc. were major types of equipment, with "Mark" designating a minor variant or production change, i.e. "Number 1 Mark III" or "Number 4 Mark I." However, British Railway practice has usually designated things using Arabic numerals. For example, coaches produced by British Railways went through Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3 series.

United States Navy[edit]

The United States Navy uses the terms "MARK" and "MOD" as a method to uniquely designate specific types and configurations of equipment that would otherwise lack military designations. The practice was adopted by the Naval Ordnance group in 1944, and was formalized in MIL-STD-1661[1] in 1978. As the system came from the Ordnance group, it is primarily used to describe naval guns, gun mounts, and other similar weapon systems.




Musical and photo instruments[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ MIL-STD-1661 (1978-08-01). "Mark and Mod Nomenclature System". Retrieved 2010-05-22.

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