carload

In the United States, the word “carload” has often been used as an informal indication of quantity. The car referred to is a railroad freight car.

An 1883 source says:

“As a general rule the following quantities constitute a car load throughout Canada and the United States, viz.,” [data converted to a table for ease of reading]

Product Quantity
salt 20,000 pounds, or 70 barrels
lime 70 barrels
flour 70 barrels, or 200 sacks
whiskey 60 barrels
hard wood 6 cords
soft wood 7 cords
horses 16 head
cattle 18 to 20 head
hogs 50 to 60 head
sheep 80 to 100 head
solid boards 9000 feet [presumably board-feet]
siding 17,000 feet
flooring 13,000 feet
shingles 40,000 [board feet?]
“hard lumber” 20,000 [board feet?]
green lumber 30,000 [board feet?]
joists, scantling,
and all other
large timber
36,000 [board feet?]
wheat 340 bushels
corn 360 bushels
oats 680 bushels
barley 400 bushels
flaxseed 360 bushels
apples 360 bushels
Irish potatoes 430 bushels
sweet potatoes 356 bushels
bran 1000 bushels

1. The Grocer's Companion and Merchant's Hand-Book.
Boston: New England Grocer, 1883.

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