Metric Weights, Two Grams to One Kilogram

In the late eighteenth century, French scientists introduced a new system of weights and measures known as the metric system. Units of length, volume and mass were interrelated. A cube 10 centimeters on a side (1000 cubic centimeters) was defined to have a volume of one liter. The weight of one liter of pure water was called a kilogram.
These eleven brass cylinders have weights ranging from two grams to 1000 grams, or one kilogram. They are stamped in French with their weight – 2 GRAM, 5 GRAM, 10 GRAM (2 weights), 20 GRAM, 50 GRAM, 100 GRAMMES (2 weights), 200 GRAMMES, 500 GRAMMES, 1 KILOGRAMME. Each weight has a knob at the top for lifting. The weights have no maker’s mark.
Currently not on view
date made
place made
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
overall: 3 1/4 in x 5 in x 3 7/8 in; 8.255 cm x 12.7 cm x 9.8425 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Chemistry
Measuring & Mapping
Metric System
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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