Metric System Apparatus

Early American Legal Standards

The United States Constitution specifically grants to the federal government authority to regulate weights and measures. The units of measurement are not specified. As early as 1790, in a report ignored by Congress, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson proposed that the country either adopt weights and measures based on English use or introduce new units that were decimal multiples and submultiples of one another. Great Britain established non-metric national standards of measurement in 1824 and the U.S. followed suit in 1834. The United States Coast Survey soon supplied both custom houses and the states with standard yards, pounds, and bushels.