January 7, 2013 AT 6:45 am

Make the Metric system the standard in the United States

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Make the Metric system the standard in the United States, instead of the Imperial system. It’s a petition you can sign…

The United States is one of the few countries left in the world who still have not converted to using the Metric System as a standardized system of measurement. Instead of going along with what the rest of the world uses, we stubbornly still adhere to using the imprecise Imperial Unit – despite the fact that practically every other country that we interact with uses Metric.

Why should we convert to using the Metric System? Because it’s superior, less convoluted – everything is ordered in units of tens, while the chaotic arrangement of the Imperial System slows things down for us – not only in terms of education, but also businesses, science, foreign relations, and daily life.


I “heart” METRIC – Requirements Sheet & skill badge. The Metric System is an international decimalised system of measurement. France was first to adopt a metric system, in 1799, and a metric system is now the official system of measurement, used in almost every country in the world. The United States is the only industrialised country that has not defined a metric system as its official system of measurement, although the use of a metric system has been sanctioned for use there since 1866. Although the United Kingdom committed to officially adopting a metric system for many measurement applications, one is still not in universal use there and the customary imperial system is still in common and widespread use. Although the originators intended to devise a system that was equally accessible to all, it proved necessary to use prototype units under the custody of government or other approved authorities as standards. Until 1875, control of the prototype units of measure was maintained by the French Government when it passed to an inter-governmental organisation – the Conférence générale des poids et mesures (CGPM). It is now hoped that the last of these prototypes can be retired by 2014 via Wikipedia.

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  1. While I would love to see a switch to the Metric system, it’s not as simple as it may sound. Nearly every mechanical object in the United States that uses stock raw materials has been designed for English units. When you buy steel/aluminum/wood/ it comes in English units. Making the change not only requires raw materials manufacturers to retool for different dimensions, but it also requires all of those existing designs to be reworked. During a transition, raw materials manufacturers would be required to have both materials on hand. Material delivery times would be greatly affected when one mill is now required to run twice as many geometries. There are loses in change over that can’t be recovered. Don’t get me wrong, as an automation Mechanical Design Engineer I would love to see the change, but it’s not as easy as it may seem.

  2. Changing to metric will have it’s impacts. For one thing, the hardware used in EVERYTHING made in this country is based on the fractional inch system. Changing to metric would involve major re-tooling with little benefit. Think of all the screws, nuts, taps, dies, wrenches that would need to be replaced. Drills are less of a problem as there actually ARE metric sized drills that are EXACT fits for many fractional inch drill sets. What makes matters crazy is that there are THREE different drill set sizes based on fractional inches. One goes from 1/8" to 1" by 64ths (though not every size is commonly used), another numbered set goes from #0 through #100 with the larger numbers being smaller, the third size runs from letters A-Z. The first based on decimal fractions of inches, and the latter on some other crazy scheme.

  3. =)

  4. Did you know that the US is a signatory to the metric agreement?

  5. Finally I just signed that petition. I saw on my local news channel. Please sign it and show support thank you.

  6. Finally decided to take the full-on metric plunge myself in 2014 (at least for personal stuff since it’s easier here in Europe): http://www.microbuilder.eu/Blog/13-01-07/New_Year_s_Resolution_Full_Metric_for_PCB_Layout.aspx

    Curious how it works out in reality, though!

  7. firstly, the US system of units is not imprecise.
    it is fully traced to the SI unit definitions
    by your friends at NIST.

    secondly, the longer point:
    i like SI. it’s nice and neat for physics.
    but for everyday quantities
    units like inches, feet, pounds, cups and gallons
    are just really useful sizes.

    there is a reason they don’t go away… a good number of people LIKE them. arguments about familiarity aside,
    they correspond well to the size of a human being.

    if you like metric units in your day to day life… use them! let true democracy rule:
    teach your friends cooking in mL.
    quote the temp in degC.
    tell people about your shiny new 60.9cm flat-panel LCD.
    be the change you want in the world, rather than
    going top-down and legislating what units we all use.

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