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Table Of Historical Weights And Measures

Posted by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 9:59 AM
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Cooking measures were important to nineteenth-century cooks. Many homes did not have the luxury of weigh scales and some didn't even have a proper set of measures.

Ingredients were often estimated. And if one measurement were known, another could be obtained. For instance, 2 wineglassfuls equal 1 gill, or 1/2 cup.

Old measures like the grain, gill, scruple and dram (drachma) are little used nowadays, so if the quantities called for in Grandma's dessert recipes seem unclear, just refer to these historical weights and measures.





Table of Old Fashioned Cooking Measures

Every measure is level, unless otherwise specified. Because of the loss or gain of moisture constantly happening in dry ingredients, exact measures are not possible; but for ordinary purposes, and for home cooking and baking, the following is approximately correct:


About 25 drops of any thin liquid = 1 teaspoonful

1 Pinch = 4-1/2 grains, or less than 1/8 teaspoonful

1 Saltspoonful = 1/4 teaspoonful

1 Scruple = 20 grains, or about 1/2 teaspoonful

3 Saltspoonfuls = 1 dram (drachma), or 27-1/3 grains

1 Teaspoonful = 4 saltspoonfuls, or 36-1/2 grains

4 Teaspoonfuls = 1 tablespoonful liquid

2 Tablespoonfuls, or 16 drams (drachmas) liquid = 1 fluid oz

4 Tablespoonfuls = 1 wineglass, or 1/2 gill, or 1/4 cupful

2 Wineglasses = 1 gill, or 1/2 cupful

2 Gills = 1 coffee-cupful, or 16 tablespoonfuls, or 8 fluid oz

1 Tumblerful = 1 coffee-cupful, or 1/2 pint

2 Coffee-cupfuls = 1 pint

2 Pints = 1 quart

4 Quarts = 1 gallon

16 Ounces = 1 pound, or 1 pint of liquid

Note: A set of measuring cups (with small lips), from 1 pint to 1/4 cup, will be found convenient in every kitchen, though common pitchers, bowls, glasses, teacups, wineglasses, etc., may be substituted.

Metric Equivalents

1 oz = 28.4 grams
1 pound = 0.5 kilograms
1 pint = 0.568 liters
1 quart = 1.136 liters
1 Imperial gallon = 4.6 liters.
by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 9:59 AM
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