Totally unrelated

I found these old measuring standards on a wall in Pistoia. (Prior to the introduction of the decimal system, varying units of measurement were in use.)


Double arm-ancient Tuscan measure / Meter

And, another offering from Blub, with a subject who will be recognizable to many.




Filed under Florence

16 responses to “Totally unrelated

  1. A Freddie Mercury tribute is always a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Can we show this to the Americans? They’re a bit behind on this whole metric thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Freddy Mercury? Or Lord Lucan.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Looks like Freddie Mercury to me. They even made him a “queen”.
    Which reminds me that this coming Sunday I will be attending a Queen tribute concert (and won’t be able to get “We will rock you” out of my head for months) done by the Seattle Men’s Chorus for Gay Pride Month.

    Love your little bits of this and dabs of that. We used to measure a yard of fabric by taking one end between your fingertips and stretching your arm out and the end that touched the tip of you nose was where you made the cut. You always hoped to be served by someone with long arms. I took a tape measure to a piece that I cut like that and I’m about 35 inches. Sorry we’re not metric here…yet. Probably never will be.


    • The Joy Singers from Venice do a wonderful tribute to Queen. The fellow who sang Freddie’s part sounded just like him. (He was a gondolier, but sadly, died at a young age from an aggressive brain tumour.)

      That method of measuring material must have been quite universal. You’d have been happy with my measurement, I’ve got long arms.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Unfortunately by the time I was sewing and working in a fabric shop we had cutting tables and little machines we ran it through that measure for us. If it was really thick material (Like faux fur) we had to do it by hand on the yard stick built into the table and were warned about having “fat thumbs” and giving too much away.
        It’s one of the few things I long for in the good old days…being generous with a cut of cloth, the butcher throwing in an extra chop for the poor family or bones for the dogs when he knew it would make soup for the family. Sigh!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Caroline

          Hi Michelle! Still catching up with emails, blogs etc during our long hol. It was a coincidence reading what you said about the butcher: after I bought prosciutto crudo, polpetti & eggs from the pork farmer at the Santa Marta market this morning, he threw in 2 free sausages – perhaps I looked hungry and/or poor! (Actually, I do generally feel both 🙂 )

          Liked by 1 person

  5. If one arm is shorter than the other, which arm do you double?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, assuming that these are the arms you want to use, if we take it to a committee, we’ll never get an answer. So, I’ll arbitrarily say: take the average length of the two chosen arms.

      What time is it Bali right now?


  6. Bert

    123.8 cm. Not bad – Google says 124 cm (approx). The ell, or cubit, ranged from 43 to 53 cm, so a double cubit would be 86 to 106 cm, which is quite a bit less than 124 cm. Perhaps the Tuscans were very tall.


    • I’ve also read that different regions used different standards, so the Tuscan measure could have differed from the Umbrian one, etc.

      (Hmm, whole lot of differing going on in my sentence!)


  7. I love the double arm measure. Can you go back and stand next to it and show us how close it is to a double arm span? Maybe get some local to stand there for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know I’d love to do that, but you’ll have to wait until next year for the definitive answer, suchled. My arm, from elbow to the tip of my longest finger, is 45 cm, so I couldn’t have been the golden standard. But, now, I wonder: whose arm did they use, from which points did they measure that arm?

      Let’s see, the meter measure in the photo represents 100cm, and when I put a ruler up against each of these I get a ratio of 10.5:13. I leave you to do the head scratching maths and let us know the answer. (What was the question?)


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