An English measure of capacity for wine, one third of a tun. This unit is also sometimes called a firkin or tertian. After 1824 it = 70 imperial gallons, about 318.2 liters. Previously it had been 84 wine gallons. See wine barrel for a chart showing its relationship to other wine measures. Abbr., “pun.”.¹

It also had other conventional commercial values, for particular commodities:

Mid 19th century, according to Waterston
brandy 100 to 110 imperial gallons
molasses 1,120 to 1,344 pounds av.
rum 90 to 100 imperial gallons
Scotch whiskey 112 to 120 imperial gallons

Lederer speculates that the 18th century American pon, a cask in which sugar was shipped, was a shortening of puncheon.²

1. Nesbit (1869), page 276;

2. Richard M. Lederer, Jr.
Colonial American English. A Glossary.
Essex, Connecticut: A Verbatim Book, 1985.

home | units index | search |  to email Sizes drawing of envelope |  acknowledgements | 
help | privacy | terms of use