photograph of grave weight

One of 6 prototypes of the grave made for the Commission in 1793. Collection, U.S. Nat'l Institute of Standards and Technology Museum.

Photo, NIST.

The fundamental unit of mass proposed by the French Temporary Commission on Weights and Measures in 1793. In 1795, this unit was renamed the kilogram.

In the system as first proposed, the grave was subdivided into decigraves and centigraves. A thousandth of a grave, however (what we call a gram), was called a gravet, and was subdivided into decigravets and centigravets. One thousand graves was a bar, with corresponding decibars and centibars.

A. Birembaut.
“Les deux déterminations de l'unité de masse du système métrique.”
Revue d’histoire des sciences, volume 12 (1959), pages 25-54.

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