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 110 Swedish foot (2.96 cm or 1.17 inches). 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 Swedish mile, mil, has been preserved, now measuring 10 kilometres (6.2 statute miles).

Length[edit]

The Swedish units of length included the following:

  • aln – Forearm (cf. Ell) (pl. alnar). After 1863, 59.37 cm (1.948 ft). 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, 14 aln
  • fot – Foot, 1/2 aln. Before 1863, the Stockholm fot was the commonly accepted unit, at 29.69 cm (0.974 ft).
  • linje – Line, after 1863 110 tum, 2.96 mm (0.117 inches). Before that, 112 tum or 2.06 mm.
  • mil – Mile, also lantmil. From 1699, defined as a unity mile of 18000 alnar or 10.69 km (6.64 mi). 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 (9.9 mi).
  • skogsmil – Also rast, distance between rests in the woods, approx. 5 km (3.1 mi).
  • fjärdingsväg14 mil
  • stenkast – Stone's throw, about 50 m (164 ft), used to this day as an approximate measure.
  • rev – 160 fot, for land measurement, was 100 fot after 1855.
  • stång – 16 fot, for land measurement
  • tum – Thumb (inch), 112 fot, 2.474 cm. After 1863 110 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 (948.8 sq ft)
  • kappland – 154.3 m2 (1,661 sq ft).
  • spannland – 16 kappland
  • tunnland – 2 spannland or 4,937.6 m2 (53,148 sq ft), 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 0.850 imp qt; 1.021 US qt
tunna 2 spann -
ankare - 39.26 L 34.54 imp qt; 41.49 US qt
ohm 155 pottor 149.73 L 131.74 imp qt; 158.22 US qt
storfavn - 3770 L (3.77 m³) 3,320 imp qt; 3,980 US qt (830 imp gal; 1,000 US gal or 133 cu ft)
kubikkfavn - 5850 L (5.85 m³) 5,150 imp qt; 6,180 US qt (1,290 imp gal; 1,550 US gal or 207 cu ft)

Weight[edit]

  • mark – 1/2 skålpund. Was used from the Viking era, when it was approx. 203 g (7.2 oz).


unit relation to previous metric value Imperial Value
skeppspund 20 lispund 170.03 kg 374.852 lb
bismerpund 12 skålpund 5.101 kg. 11.246 lb
lispund 20 skålpund 8.502 kg 18.744 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 relationship 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 2,025 yd
distansminut 1852 m 2,025 yd
kvartmil (old) 1/4 sjömil 1852m 2,025 yd
sjömil (old) 7408 m 8,101 yd
sjömil (modern) 1852 m 2,025 yd

Monetary[edit]

  • daler – From 1534, Swedish thaler. From 1873, replaced by the krona.
  • riksdaler – From 1624, 1 12 daler, from 1681 2 daler, from 1715 3 daler, from 1776 6 daler
  • skilling – From 1776, 148 riksdaler
  • mark – From 1534, 11/3 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]