Why Didn't America Ever Adopt the Metric System?
Monday, August 18, 2014
Most of the rest of the world is on the metric system, and for a time in the 1970s America seemed ready to make the switch, but it never happened. Instead, the country stayed with its odd, inconsistent system of measurement. John Bemelmans Marciano explains the variety of standards throughout Europe and the 13 American colonies, the combination of intellect and circumstance that resulted in the metric system’s creation in France in the wake of the French Revolution and America’s stubborn adherence to the hybrid United States Customary System. In his book Whatever Happened to the Metric System?: How America Kept Its Feet, Marciano tells a human drama, with great inventors, visionary presidents, obsessive activists, and science-loving technocrats.