catty

Various units of mass in Asia. The word is from the Malay “kati”, meaning small box (as in the English “tea caddy”).

1

In Indonesia, 20th century, a unit of mass, approximately 617.613 grams (approximately 1.3616 pounds avoirdupois). In colonial days, the spelling kati (plural katies) was used.

United Nations, 1966.

2

In China and North Borneo, 1¹⁄₃ pounds avoirdupois. Also called a tael or gin.

sources

1

Káti, commonly, Catty, Malay () A weight in general use throughout the Archipelago, and extending to China; 100 kátis are equal to one pikal of 133½ lb. avoirdupois and each is therefore equal to 21 1/3 ounces or 1 1/3 lb.; it contains 16 Tél, or, commonly, Tale : it varies in value in some of the islands.

H. H. Wilson, 1855, page 268.

2

kati. I. A “catty”; a local standard of measurement corresponding to our pound avoirdupois, but weighing about one-third more; Ht. Abd., 114, 413; Cr. Hist. Ind, Arch., I., 275.

Wilkinson, 1902, page 491.

3

In Thailand, 20th century, by the Weights and Measures Act B.E. 2542 (1999) and earlier laws, the standard catty = 600 grams.¹ link to page with chart showing relationships between Thai units of mass Abbreviation, c.

This standard catty is half of the old chang², which in earlier times was referred to as the Siamese catty.

1. Statistical Office of the United Nations in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
World Weights and Measures. Handbook for Statisticians. Provisional Edition.
Statistical Papers: Series M, No. 21.
New York: United Nations, 1955.

2. Guillaume and Volet (1926), footnote page 11.

sources

1

Dans les gros payemens on ne compte pas par Ticals, mais par Taels & par Catez: Le Tael est composé de quatre Ticals, & le Caté de vingt Taels.

Le Caté & le Pique sont les Mesures les plus ordinaires du Pays: Le Caté pese trois livres & une once, & le Pique pese trois Catez. La plus grande mesure du Ris qu'ils appellent Coïa, contient quarante autres petites Mesures, dont chacune est du poids de cent Catez.

Large payments are not made in ticals, but in taels or catties. The tael is composed of 4 ticals, and the catty of 20 taels.

The catty and the picul are the most common measures of the country. The catty weighs 3 livres, 1 once, and the picul weighs 3 catties. The largest rice measure, called a coïa, contains 40 other small measures, each of which weighs 100 catties.

Nicholas Gervaise.
Histoire Naturelle et Politique du Royaume de Siam.
Paris: Claude Barbin, 1688.
Page 153.

Three livres, 1 once poids de marc would be about 1499.1 grams, which is much larger than the Chinese catty, and significantly larger than the chang. We know of no other mentions of a 3-catty picul, nor the identity of the 4000-catty unit.

4

An FAO publication states: “100 tai cattles = 60 Kg.” We interpret this as clerical errors distorting “100 Taiwanese catties = 60 kg,” that is, the catty in Taiwan is 600 grams.

Technical Conversion Factors…, 1972, page 316.

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