# Tag Info

1

China had its own time measurement, defined by time it takes to burn a stick of incense, boil a pot of water, cook a bowl of rice, etc. It was abandoned because of its inaccuracy.

1

Of course there have been many systems of time, as elaborated in some of the great other answers. There are several differences between time and systems like weight or length: Weight and length are required by everyone, so everyone has to come up with a system. Can I carry this? How big is this? Is this animal in range of my spear? How valuable is this ...

1

There is a simple connection between litres, metres and grammes. A litre is 1/1000 of a metre cubed. A gramme is 1/1000 of the mass of a litre of water. Originally it would have been possible to define a metre as being equal to a yard. The corresponding litre (one yard cubed / 1000) would not be a decimal multiple of the pint or the gallon. The ...

2

Time is not standard at all. Historically, there have been many different systems of measure. The year has been measured in lunar and solar months. For instance the Muslim world uses a lunar calendar starting in the 600s for religious purposes. In Roman times, the calendar was also revised several times. The initial date is now widely accepted as the ...

0

One of the design principals of the Metric System is that the units should be based on universal natural phenomena, not random human artifacts (or average grains of corn, etc.) -- so the kilogram was originally the weight of a cube of water at a certain temperature sized at a certain fraction of a meter, the meter was a certain fraction of the earth's ...

4

In their original zeal for things decimal, when the French originally adopted the metric system after the Revolution, they also adopted a new system of time keeping called French Revolutionary Time to go along with the French Republican calendar. French Revolutionary time divided the period of the day from midnight to midnight into 10 hours, each hour being ...

-1

From a scientific perspective, all units ARE standard, under the International System of Units. There are seven base units, including metre for length, kilogram for mass and second for time. The use of yards, or pounds, are a local eccentricity.

33

Most likely because it wasn't until the modern era that anyone really needed, or could achieve, much precision with time measurements. Prior to modern timekeeping, people pretty much lived on daily and seasonal schedule. The main thing you'd need to know was how close between sunup and sundown you were (and which side, but that's typically obvious by ...

13

All through history, people needed fair, repeatable measurement of physical quantities. How much grain am I buying? How much land do you have (so it can be taxed)? How much flour and water do I use for my bread? Since most trade was local, they used whatever system they came up with. So long as the people nearby understood it, and it was based on some ...

11

Why does everyone use seconds/minutes/hours today? These units were adopted in the west in ancient times, by the Greeks, who borrowed it from their middle eastern neighbors, the Babylonians, who had used it before them. It's all because time-keeping, with seconds, minutes, and hours, originates with astronomical observation, and the art and science are ...

Top 50 recent answers are included