Queen Anne weights

The Queen Anne weights were made to the standard set in 1855 and was used in Newfoundland from around 1855 to 1936.

Manufacturer unknown, Britain
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Canada Museum of Science and Technology, Musée de la civilisation, Stewart Museum, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Museum of Health Care at Kingston, University Health Network Artifact Collection, University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments, University of Toronto Museum Studies Program, Suzanne Board, Dr. Randall C. Brooks, Sylvie Toupin, Ana-Laura Baz, Jean-François Gauvin, Betsy Little, Paola Poletto, Dr. James Low, David Kasserra, Kathryn Rumbold, David Pantalony, Dr. Thierry Ruddel, Kim Svendsen
c. 1855
970079
© 2008, Canada Science and Technology Museum. All Rights Reserved.


"Standards" of measurements have been in existence from the appearance of organized societies. For example, ancient Athens had its own central depository of official weights and measures and some of these survive today. Merchants were required to take their weights and linear and volume measures to the Tholos to compare them with the standard examples. Merchants caught short-changing their customers were subject to fines just as they are today.
"Standards" of measurements have been in existence from the appearance of organized societies. For example, ancient Athens had its own central depository of official weights and measures and some of these survive today. Merchants were required to take their weights and linear and volume measures to the Tholos to compare them with the standard examples. Merchants caught short-changing their customers were subject to fines just as they are today.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Canada’s earliest measurement standards, for surveyors, were enacted in 1674 by Frontenac, governor of Québec. Regulations and definitions soon followed for weights and measures, such as minot, boisseau, pot, and pinte. Following the Treaty of Paris (1763) weights and measures for Canada were officially tied to those of the British Exchequer. Standards for towns were stamped "G III, R" (for King George III).

By 1795 official standards had been established for Newfoundland, Lower Canada (now Québec) and Upper Canada (now Ontario) and were generally of brass or copper. The Canada Science and Technology Museum’s earliest dated standards are a set of nested Troy ounce weights dated 1796 and marked "G.R" and "Lower Canada".

Also associated with Lower Canada are a pair of volume standards which date to early in Queen Victoria’s reign (around 1840). The "chopine" (the smaller) is approximately 1 litre or 1 US quart.

Britain established a new scientifically based metrology system in 1824 (Imperial standards) but the new standard yard was lost when fire destroyed the British Parliamen Read More
Canada’s earliest measurement standards, for surveyors, were enacted in 1674 by Frontenac, governor of Québec. Regulations and definitions soon followed for weights and measures, such as minot, boisseau, pot, and pinte. Following the Treaty of Paris (1763) weights and measures for Canada were officially tied to those of the British Exchequer. Standards for towns were stamped "G III, R" (for King George III).

By 1795 official standards had been established for Newfoundland, Lower Canada (now Québec) and Upper Canada (now Ontario) and were generally of brass or copper. The Canada Science and Technology Museum’s earliest dated standards are a set of nested Troy ounce weights dated 1796 and marked "G.R" and "Lower Canada".

Also associated with Lower Canada are a pair of volume standards which date to early in Queen Victoria’s reign (around 1840). The "chopine" (the smaller) is approximately 1 litre or 1 US quart.

Britain established a new scientifically based metrology system in 1824 (Imperial standards) but the new standard yard was lost when fire destroyed the British Parliament. The standard yard illustrated is one of fifteen made between 1841 and 1845 by the London firm of Troughton and Simms to replace the one destroyed. These were made using a new low-expansion alloy called Baily’s Metal (copper, tin and zinc).

In 1855, the Troy pound (5760 grains) was replaced by a pound of 7000 grains ("Avoirdupois" measures). This set, made to the new standard, is called the Queen Anne weights and was used in Newfoundland from around 1855 to 1936.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Troy Ounce Weights

Commercial weights and scales in use in Lower Canada (Québec) were compared against these standard weights. Set of nested Troy ounce weights used in Québec as secondary standards until about 1872. A checkerboard symbol stamped in the bottom indicates these were verified at the Exchequer in London.

Manufacturer unknown / probably England
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Canada Museum of Science and Technology, Musée de la civilisation, Stewart Museum, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Museum of Health Care at Kingston, University Health Network Artifact Collection, University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments, University of Toronto Museum Studies Program, Suzanne Board, Dr. Randall C. Brooks, Sylvie Toupin, Ana-Laura Baz, Jean-François Gauvin, Betsy Little, Paola Poletto, Dr. James Low, David Kasserra, Kathryn Rumbold, David Pantalony, Dr. Thierry Ruddel, Kim Svendsen
1796
950509
© 2008, Canada Science and Technology Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Standard Volumes

Capacity measures for liquids sold or served in Lower Canada (Québec) were compared against these standard volumes. The pot and chopine were French standards used in Lower Canada (Québec) from before the introduction of the metric system in 1795. Such sets were widely used as wine standards.

Manufacturer unknown / probably France
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Canada Museum of Science and Technology, Musée de la civilisation, Stewart Museum, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Museum of Health Care at Kingston, University Health Network Artifact Collection, University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments, University of Toronto Museum Studies Program, Suzanne Board, Dr. Randall C. Brooks, Sylvie Toupin, Ana-Laura Baz, Jean-François Gauvin, Betsy Little, Paola Poletto, Dr. James Low, David Kasserra, Kathryn Rumbold, David Pantalony, Dr. Thierry Ruddel, Kim Svendsen
c. 1840
970086
© 2008, Canada Science and Technology Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Standard Yard

Measuring rules used in Canada were compared against this official standard. This standard yard is made of a low expansion alloy (Cu, Sn, Zn) called Baily´s metal and was calibrated for use at 61.80º F

Made by Troughton & Simms / London, England
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Canada Museum of Science and Technology, Musée de la civilisation, Stewart Museum, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Museum of Health Care at Kingston, University Health Network Artifact Collection, University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments, University of Toronto Museum Studies Program, Suzanne Board, Dr. Randall C. Brooks, Sylvie Toupin, Ana-Laura Baz, Jean-François Gauvin, Betsy Little, Paola Poletto, Dr. James Low, David Kasserra, Kathryn Rumbold, David Pantalony, Dr. Thierry Ruddel, Kim Svendsen
1845
970073
© 2008, Canada Science and Technology Museum. All Rights Reserved.


After Canadian Confederation in 1867, the young Canadian government placed a large order with British makers to replace standards previously used by each province. The new sets were delivered in 1874 and this date appears on many of the original Canadian volume and mass standards. Since 1951 the primary standards have been maintained by the National Research Council’s (NRC) Institute for National Measurement Standards (INMS) in Ottawa. INMS is also responsible for developing the scientific means to establish the national measurement standards.

Legal enforcement of standards is assigned to Measurement Canada. They monitor compliance through a network of laboratories and inspectors with their standards ("secondary standards") regularly compared to the primary standards at NRC. When an inspector has tested and approved a measuring device, it receives a sticker, often seen on gas pumps or grocery store scales, authorizing it for commercial use.
After Canadian Confederation in 1867, the young Canadian government placed a large order with British makers to replace standards previously used by each province. The new sets were delivered in 1874 and this date appears on many of the original Canadian volume and mass standards. Since 1951 the primary standards have been maintained by the National Research Council’s (NRC) Institute for National Measurement Standards (INMS) in Ottawa. INMS is also responsible for developing the scientific means to establish the national measurement standards.

Legal enforcement of standards is assigned to Measurement Canada. They monitor compliance through a network of laboratories and inspectors with their standards ("secondary standards") regularly compared to the primary standards at NRC. When an inspector has tested and approved a measuring device, it receives a sticker, often seen on gas pumps or grocery store scales, authorizing it for commercial use.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Prior to the 20th century, time was determined astronomically, in terms of seconds derived as a fraction of the time it takes the Earth to make one complete orbit around the Sun. By the 1930s it was clear that this was not constant. The year was slowly lengthening, and it increased and decreased erratically. Hence a method to replace astronomical observations was urgently sought.

The atomic clock, first developed in Britain, was the solution. Scientists at NRC made a Cesium atomic clock (Cs I) which went into operation in 1958. It was stable and accurate enough to became the first in the world to provide the time standard for any country. Cs I was accurate to a few parts in 1010 (about 1 second in 300 years). It used a microwave source in which a specified number of oscillations of the source defined one second. The oval loops around the apparatus carried electric currents to minimize the effects of stray magnetic fields.

Today, Canada’s beam apparatus at INMS, which serves as a primary clock, has an uncertainty of a few parts in 1014 (better than 1 second in a million years!).
Prior to the 20th century, time was determined astronomically, in terms of seconds derived as a fraction of the time it takes the Earth to make one complete orbit around the Sun. By the 1930s it was clear that this was not constant. The year was slowly lengthening, and it increased and decreased erratically. Hence a method to replace astronomical observations was urgently sought.

The atomic clock, first developed in Britain, was the solution. Scientists at NRC made a Cesium atomic clock (Cs I) which went into operation in 1958. It was stable and accurate enough to became the first in the world to provide the time standard for any country. Cs I was accurate to a few parts in 1010 (about 1 second in 300 years). It used a microwave source in which a specified number of oscillations of the source defined one second. The oval loops around the apparatus carried electric currents to minimize the effects of stray magnetic fields.

Today, Canada’s beam apparatus at INMS, which serves as a primary clock, has an uncertainty of a few parts in 1014 (better than 1 second in a million years!).

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Atomic Clock

Uses the vibration of cesium atoms to measure the passage of time very accurately. Canada´s first atomic clock became the first in the world to replace astronomically determined time as an official time standard (1958-1965). It was accurate to better than 1 second in 300 years.

Made by National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Canada Museum of Science and Technology, Musée de la civilisation, Stewart Museum, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Museum of Health Care at Kingston, University Health Network Artifact Collection, University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments, University of Toronto Museum Studies Program, Suzanne Board, Dr. Randall C. Brooks, Sylvie Toupin, Ana-Laura Baz, Jean-François Gauvin, Betsy Little, Paola Poletto, Dr. James Low, David Kasserra, Kathryn Rumbold, David Pantalony, Dr. Thierry Ruddel, Kim Svendsen
1956 - 1958
660528
© 2008, Canada Science and Technology Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Hugh Carmichael began to work on instruments using quartz fibres and in 1949 two quartz ultramicrobalances were constructed under his direction. Their sensitivity (10-8 gram) was practically constant up to a maximum load of 0.6 gram, and was far superior to any other balance made to that time.

The ultramicrobalance has an all-quartz beam suspended by quartz torsion fibres in a massive, airtight metal housing and the scale pans are suspended from the beam by vertical quartz fibres. All joints of the balance beam were made by fusing the quartz so that the perfectly elastic twisting and bending of quartz fibres replaced the knife-edge movements of a conventional balance.

When a sample was placed on one pan, the beam naturally lowered on that end. But instead of balancing the pans by adding known weight to the other side of the beam, the beam was brought to balance by twisting a quartz fibre attached to the beam. The amount of twist was measured by means of a graduated circle. Angle of twist could be converted to weight due to earlier calibrations of the instrument using known weights.

The graduated circle reads to one forty-thousandth of a revolution Read More
Hugh Carmichael began to work on instruments using quartz fibres and in 1949 two quartz ultramicrobalances were constructed under his direction. Their sensitivity (10-8 gram) was practically constant up to a maximum load of 0.6 gram, and was far superior to any other balance made to that time.

The ultramicrobalance has an all-quartz beam suspended by quartz torsion fibres in a massive, airtight metal housing and the scale pans are suspended from the beam by vertical quartz fibres. All joints of the balance beam were made by fusing the quartz so that the perfectly elastic twisting and bending of quartz fibres replaced the knife-edge movements of a conventional balance.

When a sample was placed on one pan, the beam naturally lowered on that end. But instead of balancing the pans by adding known weight to the other side of the beam, the beam was brought to balance by twisting a quartz fibre attached to the beam. The amount of twist was measured by means of a graduated circle. Angle of twist could be converted to weight due to earlier calibrations of the instrument using known weights.

The graduated circle reads to one forty-thousandth of a revolution and is permitted to make six complete revolutions, corresponding to about two milligrams added on one side. The gross load including scale pans is limited to one-third of a gram on each side.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Ultramicrobalance

Used to weigh extremely small quantities of materials (especially radioactive materials). The Carmichael microbalance used beams and pan supports made of fused quartz. Twisting of the fibres rather than tilt of the beam was used to measure extremely small quantities to unprecedented accuracy.

Made by National Research Council (Atomic Energy Project)
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Canada Museum of Science and Technology, Musée de la civilisation, Stewart Museum, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Museum of Health Care at Kingston, University Health Network Artifact Collection, University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments, University of Toronto Museum Studies Program, Suzanne Board, Dr. Randall C. Brooks, Sylvie Toupin, Ana-Laura Baz, Jean-François Gauvin, Betsy Little, Paola Poletto, Dr. James Low, David Kasserra, Kathryn Rumbold, David Pantalony, Dr. Thierry Ruddel, Kim Svendsen
1950 - 1952
960198
© 2008, Canada Science and Technology Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Identify and appreciate the way history and culture shape a society’s science and technology
  • Describe scientific and technological developments, past and present, and appreciate their impact on individuals and societies
  • Understand measurement and appreciate its importance to science and technology
  • Appreciate the contribution of Canadians to technological advancements on the global stage

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