The small book, given to me by my Dad, soon after I started my apprenticeship in the plumbing trade was called “Tables & Memoranda for Plumber, Builders Sanitary & Electrical Engineers”, by J. Write Clarke. It languished for years in an old briefcase, in which I have kept my deeds of apprenticeship, some old school reports, sketches I drew as a teenager and other bits and bobs. It was first published in 1910 but my copy reads ‘Ninth Edition’ which is the ‘Revised and Reset’ edition published in 1943.
It is rather dog-eared and shabby now, but the information in it is very pertinent to the times when we were taught the basic Imperial measurements of proper feet and inches, pints and gallons, bushels and even a peck – two gallons equals one peck.
I either didn’t know or have forgotten that there are five and a half yards to one rod, pole or perch. There are four gills to a pint and four thousand eight hundred and forty square yards in one acre of land.
Under the title of ‘Avoirdupois Weights’ (French I suppose) it says there are sixteen drachms (not a word I remember) in one ounce.
Under the title of ‘Standards of Power’ I’m sure we all know, or have heard about the ‘horse power’ of moving machinery, but did you know that a (one) horse power is defined to be thirty three thousand lbs. (pounds) lifted one foot high in one minute?
A couple of more unusual facts, did you know are – two inch thick ice will support infantry, whilst four inch ice will support heavy field guns, six inch (so it says) will support sledges and weights not exceeding one thousand pounds per square foot. (worth bearing that in mind).
A horse will drink about seven gallons of water a day, a cow between five and six gallons, whilst a sheep or pig will polish off three or four quarts of water a day.
All fascinating stuff.