:: The exchanges of standards from 1841 to 1847 ::

After the 14 July 1837 Act was implemented on 1 January 1840, declaring that the decimal metric system was from now on the only legal system in France, the French government applied to promote this system to foreign countries, and therefore to bring it into general use.

In this spirit in November 1841, the Minister for Trade suggested to the countries that had trade relations with France exchanging collections of length, capacity and weight standards. It was to concern the United Kingdom, Russia, Netherlands and the states of Germany and Italy. Then, it was planned establishing comparison tables between French and foreign weights and measures.

The French ambassadors in these countries were entrusted with offering exchanges in December.

Fourteen countries agreed and sent their standards to Paris in the following years: Bade, Brunswick, Hamburg, Hannover, Hesse-Cassel, Lubeck, Lucques, Norway, Prussia, Roma, Russia, Sweden, Tuscany, Wurtemberg.

Another four agreed to the proposal but said they would postpone their sending until they received the French standards. These states are Bavaria, Breme, Hesse-Darmstadt, Sardinia.

The French collections - metre, litre and kilogramme - were ordered to Gambay, a manufacturer of mathematics instruments, since the mid-1842. However, his workshop suffered a lot of difficulties. Besides, Gambey had to develop a comparator and a set of scales to check - with the accuracy required - the metres (at 0.001 mm) and the kilogrammes (at 0.5 mg). Thus, the collections were ready and sent to the eighteen above-mentionned countries only in October 1847.

The sending consisted of the three brass-made standards put in a mahogany lockable box, plus a calibration certificate, an official book of legal texts and directives and an issue of "l'Atlas des poids et mesures" - the Atlas of weights and measures.

A little later, the School of Technology and Engineering prepared other similar collections. It seems that it sent specimens of these collections to these countries: the United-Kingdom, Austria, Spain, the United-States, Japan, Portugal, Mexico, New-Granada (Colombia), Venezuela.

Besides the fourteen above-mentionned countries, the only countries which sent to France its collections of length, capacity and weight measure standards are the United-Kingdom, Spain, and the United-States. These objects were received in Paris between 1850 and 1855.

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