charge

1

In France, ? – 19th centuries, premetric units of capacity and of land area, the latter a seed measure of land, based on the unit of capacity. The value of the units varied with location, as is illustrated by the values of the units in four communes in the Department Bouches du Rhône. The greatest distance between these locations is less than 20 kilometers.

Some Examples of Values of the Charge
Location dry
capacity,
liters
commodity liquid capacity,
liters
land
area,
sq. m
source
Dept Commune
Bouches du Rhône
  Martigues 200     1
Istres 173.24 oil 136.704 9886.51 1
St. Chamas 197.23 oil 129.418 6643.97 1
St. Mitre 197.23 oil 136.704 9886.51 1
Hautes-Alpes
  Gap   wine = 72 pots,
98.58
  2
= 6 émines,
144
wheat   see note 2
= 6 émines,
235.20
oats     2
Saint-Bonnet   wine = 48 pots,
87.63
  2
Veynes   wine = 32 pots
= 2 coupes,
58.42
  2
= 5 émines,
150.00
wheat     2
= 5 émines,
225.00
oats     2
Serres   wine = 32 pots
= 2 coupes,
58.42
  2
= 5 émines,
129.70
grain     2
Embrun   wine = 64 pots,
79.47
  2
= 8 émines,
160.00
wheat     2
Briançon   wine = 64 pots,
98.68
  2

1. Arthur E. Kennelly.
Vestiges of Pre-Metric Weights and Measures Persisting in Metric-System Europe, 1926-1927.
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1928.

Page 50.

2. Augustin Barneond, jeune.
Essai Sur L'Application du Système Décimal Métrique dans les Hautes-Alpes.
Gap: Chez J. Allier et Fils, 1839.

Pages 29 and 30. The author remarks that for more than 50 years all the wine measures had been replaced by the hectoliter and “double boisseau” of 25 liters.

The question of the value of the charge as a land measure is extraordinarily complicated, even for a pre-metric French unit. Barneond throws up his hands, but provides the following illustrative data. A cadaster for the arrondissement of Gap was made in 1753. In it, the charge in the commune of Gap, = 6 éminées, was 1050 square toise “dite d'Embrun,” which is 4204 square meters. The charge of the commune of Chorges, = 8 éminées, was also reckoned in square toises of Embrun, 1600 of them (6400 square meters). In Ventavon, Lazert and Allemont the charge, = 6 éminées, was reckoned as 1500 square toises royales (5698 square meters). The toise royale was also used in some locations that had more than one charge, where a charge was assigned a class, a round number of square toises royales:

Classes of charge in Monteglin
Class Square toise royales Square meters
1 1600 6077.92
2 1800 6857.66
3 2000 7597.40
4 2200 8537.14
Classes of charge in Laragne and Arzeliers
Class Square toise royales square meters
1 2000 7597.40
2 2500 9496.75
3 5000 11395.10

Yet a third toise was used in the same Department. In Saint-Clément and Réotier, in the arrondisement of Embrun, the charge, = 8 éminées, was 1280 square toise Delphinales (5539 square meters).

2

In Belgium, a premetric unit of mass equal to 400 livre, about 195.8 kilograms.

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