The unit of magnetic potential difference and magnetomotive force in the centimeter-gram-second electromagnetic system of units, the magnetomotive force around a closed path enclosing a surface through which flows a current of

the fraction one over four pi abamperes.

Symbol, Gb. One gilbert is approximately 0.79577 amperes (or ampere-turns).

portait of William Gilbert

William Gilbert

The Advisory Committee on Nomenclature of the IEC adopted the name gilbert for the cgs unit of magnetomotive force in 1930, at its meetings in Scandinavia¹. It is named for William Gilbert (1544 – 1603).

According to the current national standard in the United States², the gilbert is not to be used.

1. International Electrotechnical Commission.
Recommendations in the field of quantities and units used in electricity. (1st ed.)
IEC Publication 164.
Geneva, 1964.

Page 27.

2. IEEE/ASTM SI 10™-2002.
American National Standard for Use of the International System of Units (SI): The Modern Metric System.
New York: IEEE, 30 December 2002.

See Section 3.3.3.



Gilb. — An abbreviation for the gilbert.

N. [Nehmiah] Hawkins.
Hawkins' Electrical Dictionary.
New York: Theodore Audel and Company,  1915.


For an excellent history of the development of the electric and magnetic units up to 1913, see U. S. Bureau of Standards Circular 60.


In Frankfurt am Main, Germany, ? – 19th century, a unit for firewood, = 2 Stecken, about 75 7/9 cubic Schuh or 1¾ stere or cubic meters. 

Doursther, (1840) page 159. Chelius (1808),  page 31.

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