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Pound: The Weight of the World…or Just Your Lunch

Pound. The go-to unit of measurement for bakers, dieters, and gym rats alike. Defined as exactly 0.45359237 kilograms (cue everyone’s eyes glazing over), the pound is a weighty topic indeed (cue awkward chuckles).

But did you know that the pound also has a fascinating history? (cue gasps of disbelief)

Back in the Dark Ages (not to be confused with current times), the pound was actually based on the weight of 120 wheat grains. That’s right, they literally counted out tiny grains of wheat to determine the weight of goods. Talk about doing things the hard way.

Eventually, someone realized that using a standardized weight would be a lot more efficient. And so, in the 14th century, the “Tower pound” was born. This pound was based on 7,000 grains and was made of an alloy of silver and copper.

But wait, there’s more! In the United States, the pound is actually divided into 16 ounces. And if you think that’s confusing, just wait until you hear about the British “stone” measurement. That’s right, the Brits decided to take things one step further and create a unit of weight that equals 14 pounds. Why? Who knows. Maybe they just wanted to make sure everyone was thoroughly confused.

All in all, the pound may seem like a boring old unit of measurement. But when you dig deeper, it’s actually a fascinating piece of history with a surprisingly absurd side. So the next time you step on the scale and groan at the number, just remember - at least you’re not weighing out 120 grains of wheat.