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Knowing your old terms of measurement

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by tuney443, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. tuney443

    tuney443 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,847

    Strange conversation yesterday--cold caller during the storm asks me how much to plow his driveway? So, of course I ask him how long and wide it is.I don't remember the # he mentioned but it was in ''CHAINS''. He claimed he had no idea how many feet it is and I tell him I have no idea how to do the conversion.Kind of funny but he got frustrated and hung up on me.So for what it's worth,here's some info on 4 different ''CHAIN'' types.I have a feeling that Jamaica might still use this old system as my caller was definitely Jamaican.

    Chain - Unit of length usually understood to be Gunter's chain, but possibly variant by locale. See also Rathbone's chain. The name comes from the heavy metal chain of 100 links that was used by surveyors to measure property bounds.
    Colpa - Old Irish measure of land equal to that which can support a horse or cow for a year. Approximately an Irish acre of good land.
    Compass - One toise.
    Cuerda - Traditional unit of area in Puerto Rico. Equal to about .971 acres. Known as the "Spanish acre".
    Engineer's Chain - A 100 foot chain containing 100 links of one foot apiece.
    Furlong - Unit of length equal to 40 poles (220 yards). Its name derives from "furrow long", the length of a furrow that oxen can plow before they are rested and turned. See Gunter's chain.
    Ground - A unit of area equal to 2400 sq. ft., or 220 sq. meters, used in India.
    Gunter's Chain - Unit of length equal to 66 feet, or 4 poles. Developed by English polymath Edmund Gunter early in the 1600's, the standard measuring chain revolutionized surveying. Gunter's chain was 22 yards long, one tenth of a furlong, a common unit of length in the old days. An area one chain wide by ten chains long was exactly an acre. In 1595 Queen Elizabeth I had the mile redefined from the old Roman value of 5000 feet to 5280 feet in order for it to be an even number of furlongs. A mile is 80 chains.
    Hectare - Metric unit of area equal to 10,000 square meters, or 2.471 acres, or 107,639 square feet.
    Hide - A very old English unit of area, a hide was of variable size depending on locale and the quality of the land. It was the amount of land to support a family, and ranged from 60 to 180 acres. After the Norman conquest in 1066 it became standardized at around 120 acres.
    Hundred - An adminstrative area larger than a village and smaller than a county. In England it was 100 hides in size, and the term was used for early settlements in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.
    Labor - The labor is a unit of area used in Mexico and Texas. In Texas it equals 177.14 acres (or 1 million square varas).
    League (legua) - Unit of area used in the southwest U.S., equal to 25 labors, or 4428 acres (Texas), or 4439 acres (California). Also, a unit of length-- approximately three miles.
    Link - Unit of length equal to 1/100 chain (7.92 inches).
    Morgen - Unit of area equal to about .6309 acres. It was used in Germany, Holland and South Africa, and was derived from the German word Morgen ("morning"). It represented the amount of land that could be plowed in a morning.
    Out - An 'out' was ten chains. When counting out long lines, the chain carriers would put a stake at the end of a chain, move the chain and put a stake at the end, and so on until they ran "out" of ten stakes.
    Perch - See pole .
    Point - A point of the compass. There are four cardinal points (North, South, East, West), and 28 others yielding 32 points of 11.25 degrees each. A survey line's direction could be described as a compass point, as in "NNE" (north northeast). To improve precision, the points would be further subdivided into halves or quarters as necessary, for example, "NE by North, one quarter point North". In some areas, "and by" meant one half point, as in "NE and by North".
    Pole - Unit of length and area. Also known as a perch or rod. As a unit of length, equal to 16.5 feet. A mile is 320 poles. As a unit of area, equal to a square with sides one pole long. An acre is 160 square poles. It was common to see an area referred to as "87 acres, 112 poles", meaning 87 and 112/160 acres.
    Pueblo - A Spanish grant of less than 1000 acres.
    Rancho - A Spanish grant of more than 1000 acres.
    Rathbone's Chain - A measuring chain two poles, or 33 feet, in length.
  2. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637


    I think he was trying to yank your chain!

    Chains are still used in surveying, but not common.
    Chains are still used in Forestry Dept.
    Rail systems sometimes use chains.
    I did a search to varify my info and seen that the NY subway system still use the chain as a mesurment, since you are in NY State, the guy did/still work for the NY subway dept.
    Just in case this happens again, you can be prepaired :)
    Per Wikipedia
    "A chain is a unit of length; it measures 66 feet or 22 yards or 100 links[1] (20.1168m). There are 10 chains in a furlong, and 80 chains in one statute mile. An acre is the area of 10 square chains (that is, an area of one chain by one furlong)"
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011