:: Return to former
names in 1800 ::
The misadventures and successes of
the French metric system in France...
government, willing to boost the spreading of the metric system, prescribed
through the 4 November 1800 order: "The weights and measures decimal system
will be definitely implemented for the whole Republic, from 23 September
order also read: "It will be possible to translate the names given to
weights and measures by the following French names in official acts as well
as in everyday use in order to make easier this implementation." A list gave
a "translation" for every "systematic name".
designations were considered as synonymous. You could use one or the other
name, or both, on weights and measures as well as in written documents and
government, by this return to traditional vocabulary, was willing to get
people used to the new system more easily. However, the former name that was
used again was now designating a quantity which was different from the one
it formerly corresponded to. Moreover, the measures that the government was
describing as "former" were actually the current measures that were used
everywhere. When you used the "translation", it was often hard to know what
you were talking about. For example, was a "livre" a former quantity
equivalent to nearly 489 grammes or a new one that was 1,000 grammes heavy?
the different names allowed in the 4 November 1800 order were source of
constant mistakes and frauds. This situation lasted until 1812.