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WILL AMERICA ADOPT THE METRIC SYSTEM? by C. P. Gilmore At John Deere, Inc., all engineering drawings these days display an odd feature. Following each usual dimen-sion marking is a second figure in brackets. Those who read the plans in both the company's U.S. and foreign branches know that the first number gives the dimension in inches; the figure ill brackets translates it into milli-meters. When United Airlines bought 20 French-made Caravelle jetliners a few one to fit the English-measure parts, the other for metric components. With these companies—and many others around the country—the long-proposed shift to some form of the metric system is no longer just theory. They've begun. And the U.S. govern-ment, after years of controversy, has launched an official study to see if the country as a whole should make the change. On August 14 of last year, President Johnson signed into law a bill years ago, it acquired an international mixture of measures. The fuselage is designed and built to metric measure. The Rolls-Royce engines are keyed to British imperial (inch) standards. And the hydraulic systems are built in the U.S. to Society of Automotive Engi-neers specifications, also based on the inch. The company gave its mechanics two sets of wrenches and other tools: C. P. Gilmore in a magazine writer and television reporter specializing in science, technology and medicine. He appears on evening newscasts of Metromedia TV sta-tions in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Kansas City. In 1968 Ids article on the artificial heart won the mag-azine awards of the National Society for Medical Research and of the Lasker Foun-dation. Mr. Gilmore wrote this article specially for H&S Reports. directing the Department of Commerce to find out how difficult such a switch would he, how much it would cost, and how much it would benefit the country. The National Bureau of Standards is now deep into the first year of the pro-jected three-year study. After two centuries of argument over the relative merits of inches, quarts and pounds as opposed to centimeters, liters and kilograms, the United States finds itself in an increasingly isolated position. Now that Britain has decided to convert to metric, the U.S. and Canada are now virtually the only two major English-measure islands in a metric world. Ninety per cent of the planet's people now use the metric sys-tem; 75 per cent of all commerce is conducted in metric units. Opinions vary sharply as to what this means to us. Those who want the United States to scrap the inch and em-brace the centimeter claim that our present system is illogical, unnecessar-ily hard to use, and causes all sorts of headaches and increased costs for com-panies that must deal in both worlds.
|Title||Will America adopt the metric system?|
Gilmore, C. P.
|Abstract||Photographs not included in the Web version.|
H&S Reports, Vol. 06, (1969 no. 3), p. 06-09
|Source||Originally published by: Haskins & Sells|
|Rights||Copyright and permission to republish held by: Deloitte|
|Format||PDF page image with corrected OCR scanned at 400 dpi|
|Collection||Deloitte Digital Collection|
|Digital Publisher||University of Mississippi Library. Accounting Collection|