-Weights and Measures


This work could be considered worth keeping due only to its authorship by then Secretary of State and future Sixth President of the United States John Quincy Adams. However, focusing on the author obscures the importance of the work itself. Adams had been interested in calculating and comparing systems of weights and measures for years before the publication of this work, commissioned by the U.S. Senate. Adams ultimately recommended maintaining the pre-existing system of weights and measures used in the U.S. rather than conforming to the British system or the newly created French metric system, which is now used around the world. Adams’ work can be understood as a forerunner to that of today’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which was established as the National Bureau of Standards in 1901.

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848).
Report upon Weights and Measures. Philadelphia: Abraham Small, 1821.

Lehigh University Catalog Record: https://asa.lib.lehigh.edu/Record/257046

A version of this text has been digitized and is available through The Internet Archive.

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